By CLAUDINE SAN NICOLAS Staff Writer, The Maui News
Hospital developer Brian Hoyle addresses Maui Chamber of Commerce members Wednesday at the Maui Tropical Plantation. He announced the possibility of adding a medical research and technology center as well as elderly housing to the medical facility project planned for nearly 15 acres in Lahaina. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
WAIKAPU - West Maui hospital developer Brian Hoyle rallied support for his project Wednesday while announcing the possibility of adding a medical research and technology center to the proposed project's 14.9-acre site in Lahaina.
Meanwhile, the State Health Planning and Developing Agency's Darryl Shutter said Hoyle has been making "good progress" on his hospital certificate application targeted for completion at the end of this month.
Hoyle was the featured speaker at a Maui Chamber of Commerce luncheon sponsored by Kaanapali Land Management, which owns the Lahaina property sought for the planned medical facility.
Addressing about 65 people at the Maui Tropical Plantation, Hoyle said he's interested in building a medical research and technology center that would generate new jobs and revenue for Maui County. It would also attract first-class medical professionals who would be lured here by the island's beauty. Overall, the project could bring as many as 150 full-time jobs to Maui, he said.
Hoyle also is considering incorporating affordable housing for the elderly on the hospital campus.
Responding to a question about whether the economic downturn would affect his project, Hoyle said he would be "nervous" if he had to seek a construction loan today.
"Health care is not exempt from a downturn in economy. No one is," he said.
Still, having been involved in building about 50 medical facilities across the country, Hoyle said he has had a lot of success in developing projects in the health care industry.
He reiterated that he intends to keep the West Maui facility small, with only 25 beds enabling it to gain a federal designation as a critical-access hospital and qualify for full cost-based reimbursement.
Hoyle is also pursuing private funding from investors, including doctors and philanthropic organizations that are interested in Maui and the pursuit of quality health care in rural areas.
Once the hospital certificate application is completed, state health planning officials could determine whether it could go forward within 90 days.
A law enacted in 2007 requires the state health planning agency to expedite reviews of proposed medical facilities on Maui and hold all public hearings on the proposal on the island.
Shutter said his agency intends to follow the statute's requirements. He pointed out that the most recent certificate of need application involving an MRI at Maui Medical Group was decided within 60 days.
Based on the certificate application process and the need to seek other governmental approvals, Hoyle estimated the earliest date for the hospital completion would be late 2011.
Hoyle, with the support of the West Maui Improvement Foundation, has proposed to invest at least $50 million in the construction of a 25-bed critical-access hospital in Lahaina and a 40-bed skilled nursing facility.
There are also plans, Hoyle said, to add a 40-unit assisted living complex for senior citizens and a 30,000-square-foot medical clinic.