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Health Center Moves Ahead

Phase two of construction approved

After delays in the transformation of the old Pau Hana Inn into the new Molokai Community Health Center (MCHC), the organization received the second installment of state funds last week that will allow them to complete phase one of renovations. The MCHC also received a Special Area Management (SMA) permit from the Molokai Planning Commission (MoPC) last Wednesday – a green light for the second phase of construction.

Renovation work was halted in the first phase of its construction after delays in the release of $1 million in state funds allocated for the project. Desiree Puhi, executive director of MCHC, said it will take about a year to complete the second phase.

Total cost of the project is about $6.5 million.

“In support of health care reform, Gov. Abercrombie has been a huge advocate for Molokai and for the community health center,” Puhi said.

Phase one – renovating the administration building, medical center and dental and family support – is on schedule to be complete in July. The second phase will begin when phase one is complete.

Phase two calls for renovation of five buildings, installing air conditioning in two buildings, construction of another parking lot and repair the existing one, building a handicapped-accessible deck and the installation of new landscaping and irrigation.

The newly renovated buildings will house the new pediatric clinic, a health education center, and a chiropractor and acupuncturist, which are both in partnership with Na Pu`uwai.

Ruth Manu gave testimony at the MoPC meeting in support of the health center’s SMA permit.

“Do it because it will be a success for the island of Molokai,” she told the commissioners.

Another local resident, a mother of four daughters, told commissioners that the health center will open up doors for the community.

“Don’t shut down our choices. We have the right to choose where want to get our healthcare,” she said.


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