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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, August 23, 2001

Moloka'i hospital lays off six workers

By Christie Wilson
Neighbor Island Editor

Moloka'i General Hospital, a subsidiary of Queen's Health Systems, is cutting six workers because of a $451,000 budget shortfall.

The layoffs are the first in the history of the rural hospital, founded in the 1930s by the Episcopal Church to provide health care to Hawaiian homesteaders in Ho'olehua.

The Sept. 12 layoffs include building and grounds workers, a clerk and an activities aide at the 30-bed hospital. Two are nonunion; four are with the United Public Workers union. The layoffs leave Moloka'i General with 107 workers.

The departing workers will receive severance pay, vacation leave and health insurance based on years of service, said Dr. Emmett Aluli, executive director.

Aluli said the layoffs have nothing to do with a five-week walkout earlier this summer by five of the hospital's six registered nurses over pay raises and other issues.

"This was a very difficult decision to make," Aluli said.

Moloka'i General — the island's only hospital — receives a $2.2 million subsidy from Queen's Health Systems and a $700,000 subsidy from the state in its budget for this fiscal year.

Moloka'i General has an average daily acute-care census of less than one patient per day. Its emergency room treats 10 to 12 people a day, and there are 12 long-term-care patients, Aluli said.

Correction: A previous version of this story gave an incorrect number of total number of employees at the hospital.