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Maui candidates debate help for local hospitals

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WAILUKU, Hawaii >> Maui state Senate candidates are debating how to help local public hospitals amid news Maui Memorial Medical Center will shut down its adolescent behavioral health unit to save money.

The Maui News reports challenger Terez Amato would support partnering with local private hospitals, but she opposes selling Maui hospitals to mainland companies.

Incumbent state Sen. Roz Baker says she agrees partnering with local hospitals would be more “comfortable.”

But she says the state shouldn’t rule out mainland care providers with the capital and technology needed to keep Maui Memorial competitive.

Measures that would’ve allowed Maui Memorial to enter into a public-private partnership died in committee during the last two legislative sessions.

Amato and Baker are competing to represent south and west Maui.

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