Hawai‘i Island lawmakers secure funding for Kona Community Hospital infrastructure upgrades
Hawai‘i Island lawmakers successfully secured $18 million in capital improvement project funding to upgrade Kona Community Hospital’s infrastructure needs and pharmacy expansion.
Within the state budget, $16.2 million will be used to improve the hospital’s HVAC system, central utility plant, site utilities, and other building infrastructure to mitigate the risk of the hospital’s closure. An additional $2.3 million will enable the hospital to maintain its accreditation and continue providing potentially life-saving medication for oncology patients.
“We are pleased that our state lawmakers recognize the essential role our hospital has in our community and are fully funding our request this legislative session,” said Clayton McGhan, Kona Community Hospital’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our extraordinary staff at Kona Community Hospital have worked hard to extend the life of our equipment and facilities, while ensuring exceptional care. $18.5 million will allow us to make necessary repairs so that our employees can focus on what they do best: providing quality, compassionate care for our families, friends, and neighbors.”
In recent years, concerns have been raised by staff and the community regarding the risk of closure due to outdated utilities in the acute care hospital that has served the West Hawaiʻi community for over 100 years. Senate Majority Leader Dru Mamo Kanuha and Reps. Kirstin Kahaloa and Nicole E. Lowen prioritized Kona Community Hospital upgrades during the 2023 legislative session and have continued to emphasize their support for maintaining healthcare in West Hawai‘i.
“Over the past year, we have heard from hospital leaders and community advocates about the issues facing our hospital, so I’m thrilled that we were able to secure over $18 million dollars to assist with critical upgrades and expansion,” said Sen. Kanuha, who represents Kona, Ka‘ū and Volcano.
Originally founded in 1914, Kona Community Hospital has since grown to a 94-bed full-service acute care hospital that serves the community with a 24-hour emergency department that is designated as a Level III trauma center. The hospital’s most vulnerable areas will be addressed by the CIP funds, which aim to keep the facility open for many more years.
“For over a century, Kona residents have counted on Kona Community Hospital. This allocation of over $18 million to address our only medical center’s critical repair and capacity needs is an investment in the health and safety of our families for years to come,” said Rep. Kahaloa, who represents Hōnaunau, Nāpo‘opo‘o, Captain Cook, Kealakekua, Keauhou, Hōlualoa and Kailua-Kona. “Mahalo to my colleagues in the House and Senate for prioritizing these critical projects, and to the doctors, nurses, and all medical professionals who are on the front line every day for our people.”
Legislators also approved $50 million to Hilo Medical Center for construction and equipment for the intensive care unit and the expansion of the medical surgical unit.
A final version of the State Budget Bill was approved on Tuesday night by House and Senate conferees. Both chambers will vote on the floor before it goes to the governor’s desk for signature.