- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 24, 2015

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - A representative of Adventist Health is looking into the financials of East Hawaii’s publicly funded hospital system, as his nonprofit organization considers a partnership with the financially troubled health care facilities.

Robert Beehler, Adventist’s vice president for market development, mergers and acquisitions, spoke last week to members of the Hawaii Health Systems Corp.’s East Hawaii Regional Board about the $3.5 million network’s mission and its work with hospitals in tough economic situations. It was Beehler’s second trip to Hilo since the two companies began exploring the possibility of a partnership this summer, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Monday (https://bit.ly/1lGx3sb).

“We operate 40 rural health clinics in California,” Beehler said. “They may not have much, but they’re going to get good health care. . We don’t walk away from communities just because a community is going through rough times.”

Kurt Corbin, chairman of the East Hawaii board, said it is too early to tell what will become of the potential partnership, but that the health care systems are “working to understand the dynamics of our two organizations.”

He said Beehler was visiting the area to get more information on the “expense and revenue” side of the hospital system and to learn more about his organization’s “cultural fit” in Hawaii.

Beehler agreed that the timing is not yet right to determine what a partnership could look like. But if the interests of both health systems align, he said, a partnership could be similar to the one being pursued by HHSC’s Maui Region and Kaiser Permanente.

“We all kind of assume the Maui transaction is a road-map,” he said.

Hawaii lawmakers approved Act 103 during the last session, allowing Kaiser to pursue a “long-term lease, with HHSC owning the assets, and leaving the door open for some level of continued subsidy (from the state government),” Beehler said.

A comparable agreement could work in East Hawaii, but with a reduced subsidy because the demographics are different from Maui’s, Beehler said.

“Our challenge is to figure out if and how a transaction could work,” he said.


Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/

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