Puna News — PCMC To Expand Its Services

(Media release) — Puna Community Medical Center is expanding its services to the community in several ways:

Our Medivan, which has been parked across from Pahoa High School since last year, has now been driven down to Kalani Honua, where it will see patients on the first and third Fridays of every month from 9 am to 1

pm. Dr. Hart Miller will provide the same services as at our Pahoa clinic, including urgent and acute care, school and job physicals and referrals. No appointment will be needed. Patients should bring their insurance card, if they are covered. This is being done as a feasibility demonstration project to determine if it is (a) needed by the coastal community, and (b) economically viable. At the end of the one year cycle we will have enough data to determine if the project should be dropped, continued as is, or expanded. A big mahalo to Kalani Honua for hosting this project and to councilman Ilagan for providing start-up funding from his District 4 Contingency fund.

Our urgent care clinic at the Pahoa Marketplace will also be staying open longer. We will be open on Christmas Day and on New Years Day from 8:00 am to noon. And we will increase our Sunday hours to 5:00 pm starting January 3rd (although we will still be closed for staff lunch).

Future plans to continue expansion of services are being finalized, as the logistics have to be worked out regarding shift changes and staffing, but we will be moving our current 5:00 pm closing time to 7:00 pm and staying open through the lunch hour on weekdays. This will help our working people get the medical care they need without losing time at work or their sick leave. Date for this change will be announced.

We have signed a 65 year lease for state land on Hwy. 130 and are now waiting for the governor to sign it. At that point drivers will see a banner in front of the property, announcing “Future Home of Puna Community Medical Center’s Emergency Dept. & Medical Park”. The emergency facility will be the first increment. Future plans may include a Birthing Center, Senior Day Care, Dental Clinic, Dialysis Center, or other components on an as-needed and/or fundable basis.

PCMC continues to honor its commitment to provide medical services to the Puna community. We will keep doing it until Puna no longer has a federal designation as a “Medically Underserved Area”. Want to help? Contact president@punahealth.org. (Rene Siracusa)

4 replies
  1. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    Thanks to PCMC for years of quality urgent care. The idea of mobile services is great.
    I wish the DOH would take your model for addressing the dengue virus outbreak.
    Here’s what I mean. I live in Kalapana.
    Last Friday I started noticing symptoms identified with dengue so in the afternoon I went to Pahoa to have blood drawn for dengue testing (which is done on Oahu.) Bay Clinic, couldn’t see me, so I went to PCMC. They politely told me that they don’t draw blood (and the same is true of Bay Clinic) but give referrals to Clinical Labs next door, which had just closed for Friday afternoon, and Sat and Sun, opening again Monday.
    Today, Monday, I went to Bay Clinic, got a referral and barely made it in time to CL. They close at 3 pm. My only other option over the three days would have been to go to the Hilo ER. I declined that option because of time, expense, and inconvenience.
    The DOH could be taking this outbreak more seriously by mobilizing vans to facilitate blood sampling in rural areas affected. The current difficulty in giving blood will probably keep some, perhaps many people from doing so. My symptoms are mild and would be easy to disregard.
    I’m guessing that there are many hundreds of infected people who don’t/can’t know their status.
    If the PCMC can make itself mobile, why can’t the DOH?
    Drawing blood samples is not a high tech endeavor.
    Thanks again PCMC!

  2. Rene Siracusa
    Rene Siracusa says:

    PCMC has offered the use of its medivan to go to outlying areas and do dengue blood draws. We have informed Civil Defense and the County Council of this offer. We don’t have the funds to staff the medivan (a CDL driver and an RN or PA) or pay for gas, but the County has CDL drivers on the payroll already and DOH has public health nurses. No one has taken us up on the offer yet.

  3. Rene Siracusa
    Rene Siracusa says:

    Forgot to mention: drawing blood is not hard, BUT certification is required. EMTs can’t do it. An MD, RN, PA or a certified lab technician can all do blood draws.

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