New date set for old Ewa hospital reopening

By Paul Drewes
Published On: Dec 14 2012 04:18:00 PM HST

Hawaii Medical Center will open as Queen's Medical Center West Oahu.

HONOLULU -

Emergency medical services will return to Ewa, as the new sale of an old Oahu hospital is announced.

It took nearly a year to reach an agreement over the deal, and the hospital's reopening could take even longer.

"This is a very exciting day, for the Sisters of St. Francis and the people of West Oahu," said Jerry Correa, the President of the St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii.

The day of celebration came nearly 350 days after Hawaii Medical Center West shut down. The closure left Ewa residents without nearby emergency services. So many were happy to hear the news.

"I think its great, I live right across from the hospital and that's why I moved there. I think we really need it, Ewa really needs a hospital," said Ewa resident Alma Caberto.

Queen's Health Systems bought the hospital for $40 million and has big plans to spend another $30 million improving services.

"We want to expand emergency services, imagery services in support of the hospital and surgical services," said Art Ushijima, President of The Queen's Medical Center.

St. Francis Healthcare Systems will use the money it received from the sale to transform its former medical center in Liliha into a non-hospital care center.

"We would like to have service lines like skilled nursing facilities, wellness centers, assisted living and so forth," said Correa.

Those changes will take even more money and outside developers so right now, there is no target time for those services to start up.

As for the new hospital in Ewa, which will be called Queen's Medical Center West Oahu, it will be more than a year before the doors open.

"From today, we expect it will take us 14 months to open the facility," said Ushijima.

The major renovations and additions to the hospital are expected to delay the opening until early 2014.  

Many Ewa residents are disappointed it will not happen sooner, but are still relieved they will once again have a nearby place to go in a medical emergency.

"Whatever they have to do to get something open this side. At least someone bought it and is trying to rectify closing it down," said Ewa Beach resident Melissa Matutine.

"2014 is better than not at all," added Caberto.

As part of the reopening, Queen's will initially hire 200-400 employees for the Ewa hospital.
     
St. Francis still owns six acres on the medical center's ground, and there are future plans to expand hospice service and other non-hospital care.

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