East Hawaii News

Big Island Hospital Executive Resigning

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Howard Ainsley, the executive in charge of four state hospitals on the Big Island, is resigning to take a position with a North Carolina hospital.

According to a statement from Hilo Medical Center, Ainsley will leave his position as chief executive officer of the Hawaii Health Systems Corp.’s East Hawaii Region on Aug. 9.

Ainsley, who has been at the region’s helm for the past five years, will become CEO of Morehead Memorial Hospital in Eden, North Carolina.

Morehead is the newest affiliated facility of the Novant Health System, a $5.8 billion private, nonprofit group that operates 28 medical centers and 158 clinics in North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia.


“We are thankful for having had Howard’s leadership over the past five years as we went through our transformation to becoming a more quality driven organization,” said Gary Yoshiyama, East Hawaii Regional Board chairman. “We wish Howard the very best as he enters the next stage of his career.”

In the statement, Ainsley said he has been honored to take part in state-of-the-art technological advances at the region’s facilities.

Ainsley cited its accomplishment of becoming the first HHSC group to implement an electronic medical record system and the establishment of the Family Residency Program.


“We are becoming a more patient-centered organization intent on improving the quality of care for our island’s residents, and have much to celebrate,” Ainsley said.

“It has been my pleasure serving the East Hawaii Community through this period of growth, and I leave the organization in the care of a dedicated, hard-working, and gifted team of board members, executives, and managers,” he said.

Ainsley also leaves the region in the midst of $9 million in budget cuts involving the loss of 31 positions and postponing of equipment purchases.


The cuts are the result of a $48 million budget shortfall for the statewide Hawaii Health Systems Corp.

HHSC’s East Hawaii Region consists of Hilo Medical Center, Ka`u Hospital and Hale Ho`ola Hamakua in Hnoka`a, affiliate Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home and 10 outpatient clinics.

The facilities have a total of 468 beds and more than 1,250 employees and 250 physicians.

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