Health professionals are calling the decline in care for pregnant women on Maui a “crisis.”

KAHULUI (HawaiiNewsNow) – Concerns are growing for expectant mothers on Maui.

The island’s only private midwifery practice will discontinue OB services in October. That leaves pregnant women on the island with only two options for care: Kaiser Permanente and Malama I Ke Ola.

Officials at Malama I Ke Ola, a federally qualified medical center, said they received a “significant number” of patients previously seen by Maui Lani physicians and surgeons, but said in a statement that “with our current capacity, we cannot fully address shortages in midwifery access as a result of the discontinuation of services in this private practice.”

They advise pregnant women on Maui to contact their insurance providers for more information.

They said they are also reaching out to local legislators for help.

“Malama I Ke Ola said about 40 to 55 privately insured patients a month are left without access, and those are people who don’t have Kaiser,” Maui State Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran said. “So what they’re looking for is whether insurers can help solve the problem.”

Health Insurance The Hawaii Medical Services Association (HMSA) says it is aware of the shortage of OBs on Maui and is working with its partners to find a solution for continuity of care.

“We provide reimbursement for our expectant mothers or we can help arrange travel to Oahu for them. If members need help with their health plan benefits and coverage, we encourage them to call our customer relations line at (808) 948-6079,” said HMSA Assistant Vice President Laurie Ann Davis.

Maui State Representative Therese Amato called the situation “unacceptable.”

“As a mother of four, and as the vice chairman of human services and a member of the consumer protection and health committees, I am uncomfortable,” Amato said. “Health is truly a human right.”

Meanwhile, the Hawaii Medical Association, a non-profit organization whose mission is to advocate, educate and advocate for physicians to further and improve the health care landscape in Hawaii, said, “the critical shortage of physicians in Hawaii is felt by pregnant women on Maui. crisis.”

HMA said long-term proposals are being considered in the Hawaii state legislature, but added pregnant women can’t wait.

“We call on community leaders in public health and public policy to come together and address this impending disaster now.”

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