Gov. Green’s executive budget includes $50 million for Hilo Medical Center expansion
On Monday, Hawaiʻi Gov. Josh Green, M.D., submitted the Executive Budget for 2023-2025 to the State Legislature and announced the release of nearly $50 million in grants to non-profit communities.
In the budget, one of his “high priority” items is $50 million for the expansion of the Intensive Care Unit and medical Surgical Unit at Hilo Medical Center.
Hilo Medical Center — one of Hawaii County’s two major medical facilities — has been battling overcrowding for months. It currently has about 26 patients waitlisted, which means they are awaiting treatment or admission to the hospital.
“As a physician, I see the dire need for healthcare and to address this, we need to take a multi-pronged and holistic approach to address our healthcare worker shortage and access to high quality care,” Gov. Green said. “Therefore, in this budget, I included expanding Hilo Medical Center, improving healthcare access to low-income families by increasing the Medicaid reimbursement rate, and providing educational programs to expand our ability to train and retain high quality medical professionals in our state.”
Gov. Green worked with the prior administration on the Executive Budget for the Fiscal Biennium 2023-2025. It includes a few high-priority requests related to healthcare and homelessness.
Total requests for general funds amount to $9.8 billion in fiscal year 2024 and $9.6 billion in fiscal year 2025, which represents an increase of $667 million (7.3%) in the first year and $472 million (5.2%) in the second year over.
Total requests for capital improvement projects are $2.1 billion in FY 2024 and $1.4 billion in FY 2025. It includes $620 million in general funds and $820.8 million in general obligation bond funds.
Other high priority items related to healthcare and homelessness in this budget include:
- $15 million in each fiscal year for the ‘Ohana Zones Pilot Program. This program has served more than 5,510 previously homeless individuals and has placed 1,368 people into permanent housing.
- $10.8 million in each fiscal year included in this budget for homeless service and outreach programs, including for the Rapid Re-Housing and Housing First programs.
- $10 million in FY24 and $20 million in FY25 for the Hawai‘i State Loan Repayment Program. This program pays off educational loans for primary care and behavioral health providers who care for patients in designated Health Professional Shortage Areas of Hawai‘i.
- More than 60 positions and $4.4 million for nursing and medical-related programs across University of Hawaiʻi campuses and community colleges.
- $5 million in FY24 and $10 million in FY25 for Medicaid Provider Payments. This will increase the Medicaid reimbursement rate for providers which expands access to high-quality healthcare and improves health outcomes for low-income families and individuals.
The grants-in-aid were previously delayed. Gov. Green worked with the Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Budget and Finance to prioritize releasing these funds.
“We know that these non-profits are relying on these funds to serve our most vulnerable in the community,” Gov. Green said. “What better time than the holiday season to give relief and much-needed support to these community partners.”
Gov. Green also included $500 million in this budget for the Rainy Day Fund.
“The state is in a strong financial position and that means that while we need to fund critical items that meet the needs of our community, we also need to be fiscally responsible and make sure we are putting money aside so that we don’t have to cut critical services when times get tough,” Gov. Green said.
Gov. Green and his team will continue to review department budget requests that have not yet been vetted for inclusion in the budget and intend to send additional budget requests to the State Legislature during the session.
“This is only the beginning,” Gov. Green said. “I worked with the prior administration to include some high priority items in this budget submittal, but I am still reviewing other requests from our state agencies and will be working with them to transmit additional budget items to the Legislature in the coming months. We know there is a lot of need in the state, and we are going to address it.”
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