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House health committee passes St. Francis' $80M bond bill

By Kristen Consillio

LAST UPDATED: 12:14 p.m. HST, Feb 10, 2012

 Bruce Asato / basato@staradvertiser.com A sign at the front entrance of Hawaii Medical Center in Ewa gave notice Monday that the emergency room, below, is now closed. The ER facility was the second busiest in the state last year for ambulance arrivals.

House Health Committee lawmakers advanced today two measures intended to help St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii reopen the now defunct Hawaii Medical Centers.

The first, House Bill 2345, would provide St. Francis up to $80 million in special-purpose revenue bonds to renovate the HMC-West and HMC-East campuses and "reopen the now-closed hospital in Ewa Beach," said state Rep. Rida Cabanilla (D, Waipahu-Honouliuli-West Loch-Ewa), who introduced the measure.

Meanwhile, the committee passed another measure, House Bill 609, which would allow the public hospital system known as Hawaii Health Systems Corp. to negotiate with St. Francis to operate Liliha's HMC-East facility.

Both bills now head to the House Finance Committee.

The Franciscan sisters sold the hospitals in January 2007 for $68 million to HMC LLC, then a for-profit joint venture between Hawaii Physician Group LLC, composed of 130 local doctors, and Kansas-based Cardiovascular Hospitals of America. St. Francis provided the bulk of the financing for the sale, $40.2 million.

HMC first filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August 2008. It emerged in August 2010 and became a nonprofit organization before filing its second bankruptcy in June. HMC began closing the hospitals in December.

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Changalang wrote:
Those guys have all the facts, so perhaps this is the best way forward; as long as the people of the West get a re-opened hospital soon.
on February 10,2012 | 11:35AM
frontman wrote:
Raid bond, hospital bonds ...............junk bonds that the taxpayers will end up paying
on February 10,2012 | 01:51PM
Changalang wrote:
Get it while its hot !
on February 10,2012 | 03:08PM
soundofreason wrote:
Gives new meaning to the term "bondage". They're getting us there though.
on February 10,2012 | 06:03PM
Changalang wrote:
That's a good one. Can I use it?
on February 10,2012 | 07:56PM
soundofreason wrote:
Be my guest.
on February 10,2012 | 10:43PM
Changalang wrote:
The Legislators have all the facts. I trust Chair Yamane's judgement. Main thing is that the West gets an operational Hospital ASAP.
on February 10,2012 | 11:46AM
hon2255 wrote:
Would this be the best way? St Francis already had money problems with the Church running it, maybe Hawaii Pacific Health or Queens would have a better business plan.
on February 10,2012 | 12:01PM
Graham wrote:
The Catholic Church did not have anything to do with the running of the hospitals..
on February 10,2012 | 12:20PM
Senior_Researcher wrote:
Oh, really? Then why did the hospitals so vehemently oppose legislation requiring hospitals to inform rape victims of the availability of emergency contraception? Oh, that's right, because they're they want to have their righteousness and the victim's medical insurance money, too! Hypocrites, one and all!
on February 10,2012 | 12:58PM
Changalang wrote:
It is safe to say that Sister "B" ran St. Francis into the ground, went soliciting for help, and CHA came in and strip mined any assets and left the facilities to circle the drain under stellar physician management. It's funny but that physician parking garage was still loaded with Lambos, Ferrraris, and Porsches. Other hospitals seem as if physician parking lots were filled with less expensive vehicles during the economic downturn. Strange subjective observation.
on February 10,2012 | 02:11PM
Changalang wrote:
The nuns already walked away from the Prime deal after the "rumored" billing inconsistencies were reduced by principle drastically giving them about a $42 million hole vs. a potential 100 mill plus. Perhaps this is the only way for House Health to keep a fail safe in the deal when this topic goes to Conference Committee. Us uninformed public can clearly conclude that St. Francis negotiators are very shrewd or connected; especially in the face of Bankruptcy Law in suspended animation, pretty amazing. Perhaps assessed value does not match asking price, or suitors don't have the capital to close the deal. The Leg needs to make sure they have even a poison pill deal for this. Losing two hospitals is not something any responsible public servant can turn their back or cross their fingers on regarding such a massive Public Health hazard, IMHO. Hope this post doesn't get censored.
on February 10,2012 | 12:22PM
hon2255 wrote:
Best option is to have private business take it over,Queens or HPH
on February 10,2012 | 01:04PM
Changalang wrote:
Perhaps if bankruptcy procedures were followed in a timely manner, that would be possible. However, it appears that when assets are not liquidated at market value; the taxpayer holds the safety net as a last resort. Usually when an entity declares bankruptcy, assets are forced to auction so creditors get reimbursed with a haircut. The Aloha Spirit allows for "deviation". Nothing is set yet. House Health is just insuring that there are options as we move through this process. Now, Chair Marcus Oshiro of House Finance has to figure out a way to find $80 mill; or this Bill dies there. They can always defer until bankruptcy proceedings conclude. Considering it has been a month since patient transfers and closure of facilities, one has to wonder what is going on with that. Everything is speculation from the public's POV, and this is one big political hot potato.
on February 10,2012 | 02:07PM
ellinaskyrt wrote:
Rida Cabanilla is a former Saint Francis nurse. Google "Vote Smart" and "Rida Cabanilla" and you will see she was an employee there from 1999 to 2002. Is Representative Cabanilla's introduction of this bill a kickback somehow? At the very least, it seems inappropriate and unethical.
on February 10,2012 | 02:01PM
Changalang wrote:
Shhhhhhhhh ! It's an election year.
on February 10,2012 | 03:05PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Don't t use ax payer money to do anything with these money losing hospitals. If St. Francis and HMC couldn't make any money with it what will the state do but waste more money. Rep. Cabannilla is not acting in the best interests of the general public, she's acting on behalf of a former employer who's hospital is also in her district. Shame on you.
on February 10,2012 | 04:50PM
ireadalot wrote:
They can raise cash/bonds to help an organization that went bankrupt 2x but yet they don't even want to attempt to raise cash/bonds to improve the schools our kids attend. Lots of schools needs repairing and upgrading and they want to upgrade 2 hospitals, PARKING LOTS, and their equiptments instead. Like any other bank and investor would ask, make the financial plan and goals public, before, we as co-signer (state population) fund this $80M class D- investment. .
on February 10,2012 | 11:11PM
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