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Closure of home health company highlights statewide staffing challenges

truthseeker08 via pixabay
truthseeker08 via pixabay
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With Oahu Home Healthcare set to shut its doors at the end of next month, families of 100 patients are scrambling to find alternate services. But options are limited for those on Medicare and there is no short-term fix.

"It does create a real issue because patients either end up staying in a hospital for longer than what they need to be, or the family ends up trying to provide care or they’re having to maybe take their family member actually have to drive them to a physician office, for example, for them to receive some type of treatment," said Hilton Raethel, CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii.

The closure will also reduce the number of home health organizations in Hawaiʻi to eight.

"Those eight that are remaining will need to pick up this load and because they'll need to pick up this load, they're also looking for staff," Raethel said. "That's actually one of the reasons that Oahu Home Health is shutting down, is because of the challenges with staffing."

Of the 35 employees at Oahu Home Healthcare, about 60% are being offered positions at sister companies. The rest will have to look for new opportunities, possibly serving the 100 patients now looking for other services.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Dec. 28, 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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