Health Center Awaits Funding
Despite construction delays and unsecured funds, the Molokai Community Health Center (MCHC) is continuing momentum on the center’s expansion, calling for community voices and opinions to be shared during a series of island-wide meetings.
Currently the healthcare provider is awaiting the arrival of their initial $500,000 – Gov. Neil Abercrombie and state Rep. Mele Carroll promised the funds were to be released at the end of February. The amount represents approximately half of the center’s appropriated funds.
“There has been communication but no confirmation with our funding source – it’s just a matter of time,” said MCHC Executive Board President Rosie Davis. The contract is required of all organizations and agencies receiving Grant-In-Aid funds through the state legislature and secures the transfer of funds to the recipient.
The remaining half of the $1 million, appropriated in 2009, is dependent on a comprehensive health care plan involving all island health care providers. According to Loretta Fuddy, acting director of the Department of Health (DOH), “the plan is necessary to maximize community resources and avoid duplication of services.”
MCHC board members brought four main questions to the community, to take the island’s temperature regarding the island’s health care system.
“Whatever stance we take with the comprehensive health care plan will be what comes out of the meetings held over the next month,” said MCHC Board Vice President Matt Yamashita. “The community needs to be part of the process and have their needs represented and addressed.”
Maunaloa residents said at the first MCHC meeting last Wednesday, that they wanted health care amenities brought to them through a mobile van. Others said the community needed improved transportation of students and kupuna to the Kaunakakai health care facilities, more health and wellness education in schools, more visits from off-island specialists and support groups for families and adults facing substance abuse and domestic challenges.
“We struggle with the same issues as other communities – drugs, obesity – but it’s good to have the attention and support,” said Maunaloa resident Joe Kalipi. “We are hopeful that health services will become more available to us and target the needs of the kupuna and keiki of this district.”
MCHC compiled a long list detailing potential program and service requests.Residents acknowledged progress in the growth of Molokai’s health care as well.
“For one thing, it’s a step forward that can we can be here together to discuss this issue and work together to all offer the best we can for the island community,” said Zessica Apiki, a Molokai General Hospital employee.
DOH will meet with island health care providers regarding the comprehensive community plan in April. Invited are MCHC, Molokai Drug Store, Veterans Administration, Na Pu`uwai Hawaiian Health Systems, Queens Health Systems, Hospice Hawaii, Liberty Dialysis, Molokai Family Health Center, Molokai Chiropractic, Molokai Acupuncture and Massage, Molokai Rehabilitation Center and Adult Daycare Facility, Apria and private dentists.
MCHC will also hold meetings at the Mitchell Pauole Center on March 16, Kualapu`u Rec Center on March 23, and Kilohana Elementary on March 30; all meetings begin at 5:30 p.m. If you are unable to attend the upcoming community meetings and would like to contribute your mana`o, contact the Molokai Community Health Center at 808-553-5038 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.