New West Maui Hospital Gets State Approval

Pacific Business News (Honolulu) - by Linda Chiem

The Hawaii State Health Planning and Development Agency has given the green light for the development of a second hospital on Maui.

SHPDA administrator Ronald Terry on Friday approved the certificate-of-need application for the $46 million West Maui Hospital & Medical Center, a 25-bed acute-care hospital to be built on 15 acres near the Lahaina Civic Center.

The State Health Planning and Development Agency must approve all new health-care facilities in the state before they can be built.

The 53,900-square-foot West Maui Hospital & Medical Center will be federally-designated as a critical access hospital and offer emergency care, diagnostic radiology, clinical laboratory, pharmacy and social services. It also will have a stand-alone 40-bed skilled-nursing facility.

The idea behind the Lahaina hospital is to offer accessible emergency health services to the approximately 69,000 West Maui residents.

Maui's sole acute-care hospital, the Maui Memorial Medical Center in Wailuku, is 35 miles away and West Maui residents have argued for years that they needed a closer hospital, especially as the population of retirees and second-home vacationers has grown.

Developer Brian Hoyle of California-based Newport Hospital Corp. is developing the hospital in partnership with the West Maui Improvement Foundation and the West Maui Taxpayers Association.

Hoyle has insisted that the Lahaina hospital will not duplicate services already offered by Maui Memorial, which will continue to be the Valley Isle's primary acute-care hospital.

The progress of the West Maui hospital plans, which have been in the works for the last decade and gained substantial community support, contrasts with that of the controversial, privately-funded $212 million Malulani Health Systems hospital proposed for Kihei three years ago.

Former SHPDA administrator David Sakamoto rejected Malulani's certificate-of-need application in 2006 claiming it would undermine and weaken the health-care system by duplicating and diluting existing services offered by nearby Maui Memorial.