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Hilo Medical Center eyes expansion with $50M from Gov. Green's budget

Sherry Bracken
Sherry Bracken
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One of the state's busiest hospitals remained overcrowded over the holiday weekend.

The Hilo Medical Center remains the same size it was when it was built in 1985, but hospital officials say demand has grown dramatically since then.

Gov. Josh Green recently announced his budget priorities, which include an emphasis on health care. He supports a $50 million investment that would increase the size of the hospital's emergency room and its ability to care for patients.

Hilo Medical Center CEO Dan Brinkman said the impact of this state spending stretches beyond the east side of Hawaiʻi Island.

“This project, it doesn’t just benefit Hilo. I think it substantially improves the overall capacity of the state. There aren’t extra beds in the state. We saw that during COVID. The Oʻahu hospitals are full and if this is supported by really all the taxpayers, I think it benefits all of the citizens of Hawaiʻi by making our health care infrastructure stronger," Brikman told The Conversation.

Brinkman said capacity issues at the hospital have been pushed by a number of factors, including the fact that many people put off medical care during the height of the COVID pandemic, making their conditions worse.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Dec. 23, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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