5 Things Hawaii: US House Democrats, Victoria Page, Maui hospital RFP

The national news of the last two days – Bob Woodward’s book release, Judge Kavanaugh’s hearings, and the anonymously written piece in the NY Times – are enough to make your head spin.

Don’t be distracted.  The financing and political pressures right now in health care are mounting, and require our collective attention – and courage – as much now as ever.  Things are going to get very dicey in our federal politics, and health care may become a catalyzing force in those dynamics, for better or worse.

DJ 5 Things Signature


1. Dems in US House planning big health reform package

US House Democrats are planning a significant set of health care reform legislation as part of their three-pronged focus of issues to kickoff the start of the session, should they re-take the House this fall.  Report:  “Health care would be divided into two buckets: cost containment, including reining in premiums, and lowering the cost of prescription drugs.”

The Democrats’ platform, called “A Better Deal,” has a series of policy proposals, including a detailed write up on pharmacy costs. Notably, however, there is no similar proposal related to health care costs in general. In the Senate, a similar platform includes policies related to prescription drugs. But, importantly, it also includes language about market consolidation (in general, not just health care) as a major structural problem of the US economy, and something they will seek to address.  That is something that could impact a sector that has and continues to witness M&A activity across a broad swath of American health care.


2. Group seeks backing for West Maui Hospital project

Newport Hospital Corp. announced that it is planning to offer an RFP next month to develop the long proposed West Maui Hospital. The project would bring dependable access to the community which is occasionally cut off from care due to problems on the Honoapiilani Highway.

Newport is targeting an established local hospital system as a partner to develop the 15-acre site. Currently, the only hospital system operating on Maui is Maui Health System, a subsidiary of Kaiser Permanente, which operates Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital, and Lanai Community Hospital.

3.  Video: Kecia Kelly, Kaiser Permanente

Kecia Kelly, DNP, MBA-HCM, RN, NEA-BC, is the Chief Nurse Executive at Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center. Kelly serves on the executive leadership team, providing strategic leadership for nurses and other patient care. She joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss keeping up with the changing healthcare environment.

“What I’m focused on right now here in Hawaii is leading my team and helping us be able to meet the demands of this very rapidly changing health care environment.  I’m very concerned, in listening to the workforce planning, about the retirement of physicians and the retirement of our APRNs [advanced practice registered nurses] and how we’re going to meet the demands of our population here from that standpoint.”

4. Q&A with Victoria Page departing EVP of the Kidney Foundation of Hawaii

Victoria Page has influenced the strategy and development of the Kidney Foundation of Hawaii for almost 15 years. In that role, the Kidney Foundation played an important behind-the-scenes role supporting physicians in their move to value based care.  She focused on building partnerships and the strategic growth of the organization to support Hawaiian kidney patients across the continuum of care.  This made the Hawaii Kidney Foundation somewhat unique in its engagement compared to other Kidney Foundations across the country.

Recently, she announced her departure from the organization.  Marjie High on our team caught up with her for this interview.  Page talks about the growth of the Kidney Foundation under her tenure and its efforts to support care coordination and value based care.

5.  Shoes, shoulders, and Art Ushijima’s retirement

It started with a King and Queen collecting $13,350 in donations gathered by going door to door.  In 2018, with Art Ushijima’s now-announced retirement, Queen’s Medical Center operates with 30,000 patient discharges and $2.6 billion in revenue.  The parent company, Queen’s Health Systems, now has over 70 locations and almost 7,500 employees.

Before joining Queen’s, Art worked in hospitals in Missouri and Ohio.  At Queen’s, he’s been called “selfless” and “confirmed workaholic.”  He’s also been called “the man behind the mission.”

Surely, Art and the team at Queen’s stand on the shoulders of many who have come before them. But, the shoes that Art will leave to be filled will be as large as the shoulders upon which the next leader will stand as a result of his and his team’s work.  In other words, Art’s 30-year legacy will be a hard act to follow.