HMC Extended Care Facility to Remain Open

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Hilo Medical Center Extended Care Facility. HMC photo.

Hilo Medical Center Extended Care Facility. HMC photo.

The Hawai’i Health Systems Corporation has adopted the Hilo Medical Center Administration’s recommendation to operate a 27-bed extended care facility, allowing the facility to remain open.

After going through a year-long comprehensive review of East Hawai’i’s inventory of public and private long term care facilities, including admission practices and insurance provisions, patient needs, employee re-training, public input, and financial analysis, HHSC made the decision to keep the facility open.

“New patterns are emerging in the delivery of long term care and are expanding options now available to residents. Our modern facilities in Hamakua and Ka’u are excellent, and the significant growth of new private facilities and care homes in the Hilo area now accommodate most of the long term care need of the communities we serve,” said Kurt Corbin, Board of HHSC East Hawai’i Region. “The one exception is the delivery of long term care to vulnerable safety net patients. Hilo Medical Center is a safety net hospital and it will continue to provide exceptional care for patients in need.”


Hale Ho’ola Hamakua, Ka’u Hospital, Hilo Medical Center’s Extended Care Facility, Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home, Hale Anuenue, Life Care Center, the new Regency Hilo, and about 168 regulated beds in private care homes make up the public and private long term care facilities in the East Hawai’i.

HMC’s Extended Care Facility has decreased in monthly census from 72 residents to 33 since between last summer and April.

“This national trend of aging in place has right-sized our long term care unit. Over the past nine months, 60 dual-insured patients were discharged to private care facilities and to the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home,” said Dan Brinkman, HHSC East Hawai’i Regional CEO. “Thirteen patients with limited financial resources accepted residency at Hale Ho’ola Hamakua and another 13 at Ka’u Hospital. Eleven patients declined these regional options and were accepted at Hilo Medical Center’s Extended Care Facility.”


Long term beds have also reduced staffing from about 100 employees last summer to a projected number of 44 this summer. HMC’s administative team has worked to place the affected employees in other departments.

Brinkman says “no formal reduction iin force is needed. 21 staff have been successfully placed in other positions in the acute hospital and clinic and we will continue this retaining process with the remaining impacted employees.

“Reducing the number of available resident rooms in our Extended Care Facility will allow us to re-configure and centralize the floor plan. This will boost our efficiency and allow us to improve the quality of life for our residents,” said Brinkman. “Major funding is not available to renovate or replace the Extended Care Facility, but we can now make improvements that will make a big difference in the daily lives of our residents.”


Some of those improvements include:

  • Reducing the number of residents in each room from four to three
  • Renovating restrooms
  • Checking on the feasibility of installing air conditioning units in the remaining resident rooms

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