Sunday, April 05, 2020
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Saturday, January 31, 2015
Wes Lo's Smoking Gun: Improvement of Medical Services on Maui Started With Fight for Second Hospital
By Andrew Walden @ 7:34 PM :: 5311 Views :: Maui County, Health Care, Labor

by Andrew Walden

Why is HHSC management seeking a partnership with Hawaii Pacific Health?  In short because HHSC only works financially if it imposes a monopoly bare-bones 'county clinic' type of medical care on the sister isles. 

When patients and physicians on Maui began demanding medical care "which is, really, for a community our size is standard care anyplace else in the nation", the HHSC had to adapt.  But as a State facility, HHSC's only function can be as a job trust for the HGEA maintained by monopoly laws such as Hawaii's notorious 'Certificate of Need' law requiring government approval for construction of new medical facilities.

In the mid and late 2000s, Wes Lo, the CEO of Maui Memorial Hospital led the fight against West Maui residents' push to build the private, non-profit Malulani Hospital.  State Health Planning and Development Agency (SHPDA) denied their request precisely because a second hospital would interfere with the government's monopoly.  (See links below)

Now in an interview with the Star-Advertiser, Wes Lo admits that all of the impetus to improve the quality of medical care came from the movement which he personally defeated.

If the Legislature fails to grant MMMC permission to negotiate a partnership agreement with HPH and MMMC goes bankrupt, this interview will be the smoking gun. 

  *   *   *   *   *

Wesley Lo: The Maui region CEO of the state's public hospital system is enthusiastic about pending change

by Vicki Viotti, Star-Advertiser, January 30, 2015 (excerpt)

...QUESTION: How did the partnership idea get started?

ANSWER: The first effort we started, it really wasn't about a partnership. But it was, we knew the model wasn't working. ... Way back when, HHSC started, and Maui in those days was making money. The other hospitals weren't, and there was this big commotion on Maui about starting another hospital ...

It was clear that the community wanted more services -- all communities want more services.

Q: What kind of services were they demanding? And what year are we talking about?

A: This was probably back in 2004. That's when I first started at the hospital. ... We could only do diagnostic heart things. We didn't do hearts, so if you had a heart attack there, you would get lesser care, you would have to be flown (to Oahu) ... We did provide good services. It's just that they wanted more. And they wanted more than just the traditional county-hospital type of thing. ...

We could see that over the years that unless you changed your model, you couldn't really sustain it, and you needed to grow services. And the state really has so many things it has to do, it's hard to grow services, hard to invest in services. ...

We decided that we needed to start investing, and we needed to find different ways to get the money to invest and to grow services.

Q: And what were those?

A: In particular, it was the heart services. We wanted open-heart surgery and angioplasty, which is, really, for a community our size is standard care anyplace else in the nation. (Laughs.)

Q: So, where did you go for the money to get that started?

A: It was a two-step deal. The first year we went up and said, "Let's go check the capital markets out. Let's see if they'll lend us money." ... Frankly, in those days they were giving away money, prior to 2009, they were literally giving it away, before that whole Lehman Bros. stuff.

So we went up there and they said, "You know, we like your story, Maui, but we don't know about the rest of HHSC and the state."

That actually started us thinking. They said, "If you guys could get it where we only lend money to the Maui region, or Maui Memorial ... we'd consider it."

Q: Is that when the regions were separated?

A: The next year. It was for the right reason -- I know we got criticized for it, too -- but what we said is, "Well, if we create regions or corporations ... then we'd at least have access to the capital markets." The state wasn't going to give us the markets. The next year we actually created the regions.

Q: When did you finally secure the capital?

A: The first step was probably around 2008. we finally secured the first part of a $30 million loan. We got $11 million from the capital markets. ... We started building the heart program, we had to hire a surgeon, get equipment ... then the capital markets crashed. Oh, my goodness!

The bank, which will remain unnamed, said, "Oh, by the way, the rest of the money, you can't have it and now you guys gotta pay us back." ...

After 2009 ... we started doing really well. Our revenue growth was great, and we were outpacing our expenses. By 2013, we almost were breaking even, as a state entity. We were hemorrhaging money before. It really worked.

But there were some other things that happened along the way. Another region had tried to borrow money and it didn't go well. So the state precluded us from doing mortgages any more. ... And I understand. It's risky going out as a state entity to borrow money for yourself. ...

We always said, "Wouldn't it be better to have all the goodies that a large corporation has to help make you be all you can try to be, as opposed to being the biggest of a smaller one?" ... We said, "What if we started looking for a partner?"

Q: That's when Banner (Health system) came along?

A: No, that was before Banner, ... in late 2008. ... All the guys that were interested had pulled out, because everybody panicked, so we didn't have any ability to partner then. But we had gotten legislation to at least allow us to look for partners. ...

Then we kind of recovered. Then we said, "Let's renew our efforts. The markets have kind of stabilized." Lo and behold, Banner shows up. Out of the blue, our investment banker says, "Wow, we think this would be a great mix." Banner is a huge system, has done well across several different states. ...

They were extremely interested. They came down. And we were just looking at that time at the Maui region. We ended up meeting with the governor ... and he said, "That's great, but if you guys can do this better than the state can, why don't you take the whole system?"

They said, "Yeah, we'd be interested in taking the whole system." It kind of changed the discussion for us....

read ... The rest of the article

Fighting for a Second Hospital on Maui:

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust 

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop 

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT