Business Monday: Long-time Kona nurse practitioner opens health care clinic
November 13, 2023, 1:00 AM HST
* Updated November 13, 7:07 AM
In 2016, Kona nurse practitioner Anne Broderson drove across the island in the middle of the night to Hilo Medical Center to get blood platelets after Kona Community Hospital ran out while treating her friend Elvis Sheppard, who had been in a severe motorcycle crash.
He died a few hours later. But in her grief, Broderson wanted to do something about the island’s supply problem and helped start a blood drive in Sheppard’s name.
Broderson also helped lead the charge for community testing during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. She organized drive-thru testing sites; was in charge of testing at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport; and provided easy access to testing for residents in rural communities.
And before all that, she was a Life Flight nurse for four years.
Seeing the cracks in patient care — from no follow-up communication to being punted to several different health care personnel just to talk to the right person for their situation and not get answers — Broderson said she knew there was a better way.
On Oct. 7, she opened her own health care clinic called Olakino Health and Wellness. Olakino means vitality of wellness in Hawaiian.
Located in a small office at Mālama Chiropractic off Palani Road, Olakino specializes in accessible, holistic and integrative care that empowers patients to make educated choices about their health and wellness.
The small space encompasses a small desk, a vital sign machine, EKG (electrocardiogram) machine, AED (automated external defibrillator) and a massage table. The exam table is on the way.
Broderson has 10 patients enrolled in the Direct Primary Care plan and has seen another five to 10 patients as drop-in/acute care management. The Direct Primary Care members have personal access to Broderson, longer appointments, wholesale-priced medications and labs, discounted clinic services and comprehensive programs.
Broderson has been a nurse practitioner for 5 years and a registered nurse for 21 years. She graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in biology. She went on to attend Kansas City Nursing School, where she got a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She obtained a master’s degree in nursing from Walden University.
Currently a one-woman operation, Broderson hopes the clinic will ultimately be a home-based primary care practice for about 500 people in Kona.
Now, many of her patients call at least once a week for an update on their care.
“Patients can’t believe I’m answering my own phone and doing all the admin and clerical tasks,” Broderson said.
But she is not available 24/7 because if the issue merits calling her at 2 a.m., she said the emergency room is likely needed.
But during non-emergencies, calls or texts to Broderson can result in her quickly assessing the problem, and in some cases sending a prescription for antibiotics or other medicine to a pharmacy. A Telehealth follow-up also is scheduled. These services are included in the monthly membership cost.
Depending on the plan, Broderson charges $25-$100 for keiki, $50-$200 for adults and $275-$300 for kūpuna.
“We welcome a new primary care provider, and appreciate that Olakino Health and Wellness is offering an array of services and payor options to our communities, said Judy Donovan, spokesperson for Kona Community Hospital.
Last week, while on a boat charter for a friend’s birthday, Broderson got a call from a patient whose pharmacy had run out of needed medication. Broderson was able to reissue a prescription to a different pharmacy by cloud-based electronic medical record and a phone call to the pharmacy.
“I love getting to be with people, making decisions that matter and lots of times at vulnerable times, helping them to heal, helping them to be hopeful and be knowledgeable and understand the options that they have — and just be in that partnership with them,” Broderson said.
Once Olakino is confirmed as a participating entity with medicare part B and Hawaiʻi Med-Quest plans, Broderson expects up to 30 former patients to reestablish care with her, including Flora Gali.
Gali, 64, was looking for a doctor in early 2022 that was closer to her home in Kona and had knowledge to support her health and wellness concerns. After a Google search, she found Broderson, who was working at Hawai‘i Island Community Health Center at the time, and made an appointment.
“I felt she heard me,” Gali said. “There was no feeling of rush. She did her research. She did a complete workup of blood and looked at everything. She gave me a personal call back.”
Not wanting to go into detail about her health, Gali said she continued to see Broderson, who also provided care for her husband, mother and daughter, up until she left the clinic in xxx. Gali said her followup appointment with a doctor was disappointing.
“The doctor dismissed a lot of her (Broderson’s) support, attributing my issues to age,” Gali said. “If not for Anne, I’d say I was getting older. Now we’re getting support because of her. We’re on the road to being healthier and smarter.”
Wendy Nishihara, a registered nurse and former co-worker of Broderson’s, was at the blessing of Olakino in October to show her support.
Nishihara said Broderson’s strongest characteristic is her compassion and empathy.
Nishihara worked with Broderson in the recovery room at Kona Community Hospital where they provided patient care for those coming out of anesthesia after surgery.
“She was always my voice of reason when it came to patient care,” Nishihara said. She was always the solid person to ask for precise accurate information.”
Click here to learn more about Olakino.