Oceanside Health Center Back On Track
MCHC News Release
Local construction crews are officially back to work at the Molokai Community Health Center (MCHC)’s Oceanside facility. The contract from the Department of Health releasing $550,000 of the $1 million Grant-In-Aid appropriated in 2009 has been signed and notarized. Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s administration and state Rep. Mele Carroll have worked tirelessly to get the funding released and the project back on track.
“We are extremely grateful to Gov. Abercrombie for his wholehearted commitment to the health and well-being of the people of Molokai,” said Rosie Davis, president of the MCHC Board of Directors.
Founded in 2004 with a mission to “promote and provide accessible comprehensive individual and community health care to the people of Molokai with respect and aloha,” MCHC serves as a social safety net for the island’s most vulnerable populations. The center addresses the primary health care needs of nearly 3,000 residents, or about 40 percent of Molokai’s population. And with the island’s only pediatrician and a full-time psychologist on staff, MCHC helps to fill a critical gap in service in the fields of pediatrics and behavioral health.
Unfortunately, its present locale is proving to be increasingly inadequate, in large part because current tight limitations on space are clearly restricting its overall service capacity.
“Relocation to the Oceanside Center will immediately allow us to more than double the number of available medical and dental examination rooms,” said MCHC Executive Director Desiree Puhi. “Owning, rather than renting our own facility, will also allow us to be economically sustainable in the long run.”
MCHC’s relationship with neighboring Molokai General Hospital, the other significant medical facility on the island, has been the subject of recent public speculation. However, Puhi, who worked as a nurse at Molokai General for 15 years, stresses that the relationship is wholly complementary in nature.
“As an outpatient facility in a small rural community, it really doesn’t make sense for us to unnecessarily duplicate services. Our patients also depend on Molokai General’s excellent radiology, acute care and inpatient facilities,” she said. “Further, we take all comers, regardless of their ability to pay, and by keeping our own patients healthy, we’ll keep them out of the emergency room. This saves The Queen’s Health Systems from the potential expense of otherwise providing uncompensated care to these same underinsured patients at Molokai General.”
“Having the State funds released is a huge relief and it will benefit everyone on Molokai,” says Davis, “and we owe it to Governor Neil Abercrombie and State Representative Mele Carroll for fast tracking the process and showing continual support for our expansion project. We are also grateful to our community for sharing our vision and standing with us.”