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Community support needed to keep free clinics open
Special to Kalamalama by Dale M. Allison, Ph.D., APRN

 Waikiki Health Center’s Ho‘ola Like Outreach Clinics, in Partnership with the HPU College of Nursing, have been operating three clinics on the windward and north shores of Oahu, in Haleiwa, Punalu‘u, and Kahalu‘u. 

The clinics provide western health care by Family Nurse Practitioners who are members of the community and/or faculty at HPU. Traditional Hawaiian Healers provide Lomilomi, La‘au lapa‘au, and Ho‘oponopono. Outreach workers assist with the clinic and help patients sign up for health care insurance and follow-up as needed.

These clinics serve the uninsured and underinsured people of O‘ahu’s rural communities. Patients who come to the clinics are charged on a sliding scale, according to what they can afford. However, no one is refused treatment. Those who cannot pay in dollars often bring food, clothing or a craft item to help pay in the best way they can.

It costs approximately $3,000 to keep a single clinic operating for a half day. This relatively small expense saves the health care system nearly three times that much – what it would take to keep patients healthy, out of emergency rooms and out of hospital beds. Most of all the clinics keep people with chronic illnesses in their best possible health by providing education, assessment, treatment and medication, and they provide people with acute illness access to care and treatment in their communities.

Without these clinics, the patients they have been serving have no access to health care or will need to access expensive hospital emergency rooms for conditions that could be addressed in primary care clinics. 

Due to a shortage in funds, the clinics in Punalu‘u and Kahalu‘u will be closed from August to October, at which time more funding will become available through the City and County and possibly through the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA). 

The staff at Waikiki Health Center continues to pursue grants and funding opportunities. You-the people of Oahu-can help these clinics to reopen sooner, and you can help keep them open. Letters to OHA in support of the clinics would be helpful to encourage the OHA Board to continue and perhaps enlarge their support of the clinics. Support from private funding organizations is appreciated as well as from private individual donors. Support from all legislators, especially those serving the Kahalu‘u to Haleiwa communities is appreciated.

 Donations large or small help to keep friends and relatives in our communities well and contributing to Hawai‘i. Send contributions to Ho‘ola Like Outreach Clinics, C/O Waikiki Health Center, 277 Ohua Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96815.

 

 

2002, Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.
 
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