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Hawaii News | Newswatch

Head of 3 Maui County hospitals to resign

WAILUKU >> The head of Hawaii Health Systems Corp. is stepping down as the collection of Maui County hospitals is transferred to new private operators.

The Maui News reported that CEO Wesley Lo will step down as head of Maui County’s three hospitals and its parent regional organization on July 1, the same day Kaiser Foundation Hospital’s Maui Health Systems is scheduled to take over operations.

“I just thought it’s time for me to let go and not try to slow down the change,” Lo said Saturday, a day after announcing his departure. “Some point in time, you got to let go and allow the people to do what they need to do. My goal was to be the catalyst for the change and get us to this point.”

The quasi-public HHSC will become owners of Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lanai Community Hospital on July 1, leasing the properties to Kaiser.

“My personal commitment to this community, and to all of you, is to see this transition through to completion,” Lo said. “Kaiser should and will choose its own leadership team without the pressure of my incumbency.”

Lo started at Maui Memorial Medical Center as chief financial officer 13 years ago. In 2004 he became an interim CEO at Maui Memorial and continued on to oversee all three of HHSC’s Maui County facilities.

Museum and alliance discuss Waipio’s future

HILO >> A group of Waipio Valley residents is working with primary landowners to ensure farmers are protected as new stewardship plans are drawn up for the land.

The Waipio Valley Stakeholders Alliance has been in discussions with Bishop Museum since the museum announced in January it would sell 547 acres, including a majority of Waipio’s taro farms.

The museum also plans to sell a 15-acre botanical garden. The properties have been valued together at $10 million, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.

Museum officials have said ensuring the valley stays connected to its agricultural history remains a priority.

The alliance, comprised of members of the Waipio Taro Farmers Association, Waipio Community Circle and Ha Ola o Waipio Valley, is also working with state lawmakers on stewardship plans for the property. A joint resolution ensures residents will stay involved throughout the process.

“What we wanted to do was really make sure that the Legislature knew this was a community issue that we’d be working on,” said Jim Cain, a member of the alliance.

Rep. Mark Naka­shima (D, Hamakua), who introduced House Concurrent Resolution 162, has proposed bringing together a group of state agencies to purchase the land.

“The title would rest with the (Department of Land and Natural Resources), but then day-to-day operations would fall to someone else,” he said.

Some members of the alliance say the museum should remain solvent so it would not be forced to sell its land.

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