Report: New medical facility needed in Kailua-Kona


A new report about health care in West Hawaii recommends building a new hospital facility closer to Kailua-Kona.

Kona Community Hospital recently published the findings of its Strategic Analysis and Relocation/Replacement Plan Recommendations.


ECG Management Consultants performed the analysis to assess the health care needs and gaps across the West Hawaii region and evaluate whether and how KCH can relocate health care services.

“Psychiatric, cardiology and primary care are some of West Hawaii’s greatest needs today,” said Clayton McGhan, KCH’s chief executive officer, in a press release. “We are grateful to our partners who will be critical in helping us to address those needs, ensuring that families in West Hawaii can get the medical care they need closer to home.”

The report provided recommendations for a new medical facility closer to the population density near Kailua-Kona.

It identified two feasible locations: the former Kmart location on Kamakaeha Avenue and an undeveloped parcel in West Hawaii Business Park. Both sites would enable the hospital to provide more acute care bed space than its current facility, and the ability to expand its specialized services.

The report estimated the cost of a new facility would range from $544 million to $653 million.

“For years, there has been speculation about a new hospital. This report details the next steps we need to take to continue growing and providing the services our community needs, and we are carefully evaluating both locations,” McGhan said. “A new hospital is something our community deserves, and it will enable us to recruit more health care providers closer to the population center.”

The analysis identified other considerations for the West Hawaii area, which includes communities from Kuki‘o to Ocean View:

— 80% of patients in West Hawaii seek emergency care services at Kona Community Hospital;

— West Hawaii’s permanent population is expected to grow nearly 11% over the next 10 years;

— At least 25 more physicians are currently needed, including at least two physicians each to address psychiatric, cardiology, adult primary care and pediatric specialties;

• Recruiting health care professionals remains a great challenge due to specific specialties needed, housing and living costs, and competition.

According to the report, “Moving KCH … allows for a reset of how health care is delivered to the community.”

“More residents will have convenient access to hospital care; instead of driving 30 minutes or more for care, many patients will drive less than 10 minutes,” the report states. “Services will be expanded, such as a cath lab, and instead of going to Hilo or Oahu, patients will have state-of-the-art cardiac care locally.”

The analysis was funded by money from the state Legislature.

“This report is the culmination of years of work aimed at identifying the needs of West Hawaii’s residents,” state Sens. Dru Kanuha and Tim Richards and state Reps. Nicole Lowen and Kirstin Kahaloa said in a joint statement. “While we know this is the start of a long road ahead for Kona Community Hospital, we remain steadfast in our support to ensuring timely health care is available and accessible to all.”

Kona Community Hospital’s leadership will share details about the report’s findings next week at two public information sessions:

— 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, June 24, at the West Hawaii Civic Center, Building A, 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway in Kailua-Kona;

— 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 27, at the Kona Community Hospital Conference Rooms, Admin Building, 79-1019 Haukapila Street in Kealakekua.

The report can be found online at Kona Community Hospital’s website at

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