Do Hawaii's special-interest-controlled politicians really want a hospital on Maui?
by Jan Shields
Do Maui’s special-interest-controlled politicians really want a hospital? My experience campaigning for approval of a second hospital on Maui provides some clues.
In the late 2000s, I worked as a neo-natal nurse at Kaiser Oahu. My immediate supervisor and top Kaiser management threatened me when they found out I was trying to get a hospital on Maui. When I would not stop, I was told, “I could quit now”. I did.
Kaiser never wanted Maui to have a hospital. This would hurt the finances of Kaiser’s multimillion-dollar facility on Oahu.
We started AIHM (Association for Improved Healthcare on Maui) and I worked full time at getting a new hospital. AIHM appealed to then-Senator David Ige. Ige was totally against a real hospital on Maui. Ige is “Union bought and paid for”. Senator Roz Baker accidentally told an AIHM member to his face (not knowing he was an AIHM member) that Baker "would never allow another hospital on Maui". Baker is another union puppet.
One night after working at Maui Memorial, I stopped my car to talk to a 'sign waving' then-Senator Shan Tsusui. He saw my scrubs and stethoscope. He said, "Don't worry, I will never allow another hospital on Maui". He was intimating: “I'll protect your union job forever.”
Hawaii Pacific Health turned down the purchase of MMMC when suggested by AIHM back in the mid 2000’s. However, HPH would have taken over Maui Memorial and done a great job.
Then, HPH changed their minds, and started talks. Kaiser didn't think HPH would succeed in taking over MMMC. When Kaiser saw HPH would succeed, Kaiser jumped innate the last minute to destroy the deal. Kaiser probably offered Wes Lo a better "Golden Parachute" to take over instead of HPH. We all wondered how this happened all of a sudden? Why the switch from a good system to a so-so hospital chain? (Kaiser = Think McDonalds. Not great, not particularly good for your health, but you always know what to expect.)
When I met with the board of MMMC, the entire board wanted a non-government hospital owner except Wes Lo. Don’t feel any pity for Lo. He is part of the problem. He waited until MMMC was circling the drain, bleeding money, and THEN he wanted a private public partnership. Now he gets his buddy Tony Krieg’s job at Hale Makua handed to him on a silver platter. We better keep a close eye on Hale Makua. Wes Lo has not proved his qualifications for the job.
I believe that Kaiser always meant to let the unions win and stop the deal. I was totally waiting for the “other shoe to drop” with this Kaiser deal. I believe Governor Ige and LG Shan Tsutui are part of this. Kaiser is afraid that if Maui gets a hospital, Hawaii Island will also. Kaiser is afraid if Maui gets a real hospital with a level one-trauma center, Hawaii Island patients will fly there instead of further on to Kaiser. This means they will not purchase Kaiser insurance. Hawaii Island should have its own real hospital with a level one Trauma Center. Either way, this also means that Maui and Hawaii Island people will stop paying Kaiser premiums, which would cause Kaiser’s Oahu facility to fold.
Please understand, I am not putting down the doctors and nurses at Kaiser who are for the most part good and honest. I am most definitely aiming this at the management of Kaiser.
Sadly, the Maui union workers are clueless that all union monies flow to the corrupt Oahu unions and pockets of the politicians who won’t really help them. MMMC workers do not realize they would have a much better job and income working for a non-government hospital. I have worked for privately owned, non-profit hospitals, MMMC, and Kaiser. I vote privately owned non profit hospitals to work for, hands down every time. They take care of everyone and do a great job of it. Maui Union Workers: you are getting played like a Ukulele !
It’s all about the money. Medical tourism is a huge profit machine. Maui residents fly over to Oahu, bring thousands of our medical dollars there, stay in Oahu hotels, eat in Oahu restaurants, and use Oahu stores and transportation. Whole families go over to Oahu. It is a guaranteed income for Oahu hospitals. Oahu is desperate to keep their medical tourism.