State releases money for Community Health Center

| February 3, 2011 | 0 Comments

Gov. Neil Abercrombie will release $500,000 to restart construction on the Molokai Community Health Center, according to the governor’s press secretary Donalyn Dela Cruz. The money will be released within the upcoming months, Dela Cruz said yesterday.

Executive director of the MCHC, Desiree Puhi, announced on Friday that construction would be forced to stop until the $1 million appropriated in the 2009 legislature for this critical renovation project was released. The Molokai News reported on Monday that Gov. Linda Lingle gave no reason for putting a hold on these funds.

According to Puhi, resistance to the project by Molokai General Hospital, part of The Queen’s Health Systems, held up release of funds. Molokai General is concerned that the center will compete for patients and funds, Puhi said.

The $500,000 will allow the center to complete just the first of the three phase renovation project.

“This will carry them for eight to 12 months,” said Dela Cruz. “In the meantime, the state Department of Health will facilitate a comprehensive medical plan so there’s no overlapping of services (with Molokai General Hospital). Once the plan is complete, we will then release the remainder of funds.”

The federally-qualified health center plans to build an Oceanside Health and Wellness Center at the former Pau Hana Inn site.

Renovations of the facility started last July.

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