North Hawaii Community Hospital granted $25 million for ER expansion

Hawaii’s State Health Planning and Development Agency approved a $25 million emergency room expansion for North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH) earlier this month.

The hospital, located in Kamuela on Hawaii Island, is a 35-bed nonprofit hospital that serves about 30,000 residents and visitors of North Hawaii per year. Currently, their emergency department has six treatment rooms and is operating over capacity. The $25 million will add an additional seven treatment rooms and a triage space. Eleven of the treatment rooms will be for universal treatment, while the other two will be trauma rooms. NHCH had 14,000 ER visits in 2016 and predicts 17,000 by 2025 with this expansion. According to the hospital’s application for this funding,

“NHCH is committed to improving the health and wellness of the people of North Hawaii, by increasing access to high quality, cost-effective health care services and strengthening the current health care system by providing adequate capacity. The expansion of the ED with 13 treatment beds will enhance the health care system by increasing, promoting, optimizing, and ensuring the viability of emergent health care services.”

NHCH serves an expansive area of Hawaii. When they do not have the capacity to treat additional patients, patients must travel significant distances to receive their care. The hospital says the expansion will help serve low-income patients, the elderly, people with disabilities, and other under-served groups who otherwise may not have been able to receive their emergency care.

Construction for this project is expected to begin January 2019 and take 12 months to complete.