Jan Shields
Jan Shields

BY JAN SHIELDS – In Hawaii it is easy for elected officials to politically maneuver on Oahu, and expect that the neighbor islands won’t catch on. Well, it used to be easy before computers and political watchdogs.

Do you all remember when Dr. David Sakamoto was previously the administrator for the State Health Planning and Development Agency – also known as SHPDA?

Sakamoto turned down the Certificate of Need that would have allowed the construction of a desperately needed hospital on Maui.  There was no legitimate reason to turn down the application for this hospital filed by well-known and well-respected Dr. Ron Kwon. Sakamoto “left” SHPDA shortly after this ruling.

Those who profit from our current monopoly hospital system on Maui are:

Oahu hospitals that receive Maui patients and millions of their health care dollars;

Oahu rental car companies, restaurants and hotels;

The Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, which operates several state hospitals in Hawaii;

and of course, since the state hospital system is unionized, the Hawaii Government Employees Association also benefits;

This “forced Medical Tourism” means we on Maui must go to Oahu to get full medical care. Sakamoto made sure money kept flowing from Maui pockets into Oahu pockets.  Sakamoto also made sure all those good hospital jobs went to Oahu.

Some politicians profit from this arrangement in the form of political donations. Each HGEA employee is forced to pay union dues.  Some of this money is used to donate to political puppet candidates. Gov. Neil Abercrombie receives a great deal of union financing and support.  Even if union members didn’t vote for Abercrombie, their money did.

Governor Abercrombie has now appointed Dr. Sakamoto Deputy Director of the Department of Health.  Is the Governor unaware of our plight?  Did he not do his homework?

I’m just asking, who is really running the government?

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Jan Shields is a nurse and inventor who has lived and worked in Michigan, Maui and San Diego. She worked at Maui's state hospital and also advocated for a competing hospital, Malulani, on the island. Reach her at jan@sunshinerainbows.com