HONOLULU (KHON2) — Just months after Hawaii State Hospital’s state-of-the-art facility finally opened, officials say more beds are needed because the hospital is now over capacity. I was. Hospital officials said they were already considering further renovations.
Demand for mental health services continues to grow, according to Amy Curtis, health administrator for the mental health department.
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“The HSH campus itself has seen a 37% increase in our senses in just the past year and a half,” says Curtis.
She added that that number is constantly changing, making it difficult to plan ahead.
Overcrowding in state hospitals has been a problem for decades.
A DOH spokesperson said it would still be over capacity even with the new $160 million facility opening.
The lower campus has 143 patients, and the shiny new patient care facility has 127, according to DOH. The DOH said it could not fill all 144 beds in the new unit due to staffing issues.
Kaneohe district board chairman Mo Radke said the community would be uneasy if the hospital exceeded its limits.
“This creates a problem, because the occupancy is too high and the release rules are a little looser,” says Radke.
Rep. Della Au Veratti, a Democrat, chairman of the House Health and Homelessness Committee, said the lack of adequate services is a concern.
“We need to solve the mental health bed problem,” Veratti said.
According to Curtis, the plan is to renovate the Guensberg building, one of the hospital’s oldest units built in the 1950s.
Those upgrades are asking for $39 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
Radke said he would like to know more about the security of the new facility and the types of patients it will house.
“Depending on who goes to the building, we would like to know a little more about it,” he explained.
Curtis said Guensberg could be used to help patients with substance abuse and mental illness who need longer-term care.
“This will free up space at Hawaii State Hospital for patients who need acute psychiatric-level inpatient care … so seeing how much things have changed over the last year, Guensberg We’re looking at flexible spaces that we can use, Curtis said.
Rep. Lisa Kitagawa, vice-chairman of the House Finance Committee, also wanted to know how Günsberg would be used.
“It’s not just court-ordered patients for Gensberg, is it?” Kitagawa asked. “If you’re in a community and need a stabilized bed, if you have the space, who can get it?”
“It’s a long-term plan for Hawaii State Hospital that can help those in need,” Curtis explained.
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A master plan submitted by the DOH in 2015 proposed more than doubling the number of beds to 516 and further upgrading the facility.