The North Hawaii Community Hospital says it is only accepting new maternal care patients who live within a certain area to ease overcrowding, according to the hospital website.
The hospital was designed to handle a maximum of 550 births annually. Last year, 663 babies were delivered and that number is on pace to exceed 700 births this year.
The hospital also says that 51 percent of the births are from women who live outside its service area.
On May 11, the hospital started to accept new maternal care patients only within the following service area:
- 96719 - Hawi
- 96727 - Honokaa
- 96738 - Waikoloa
- 96743 - Kamuela
- 96755 - Kapaau
- 96764 - Laupahoehoe
- 96774 - Ookala
- 96776 - Paauilo
- 96780 - Papaaloa
- - Kukio/Hualalai Only
"Our commitment is to reduce overcrowding, preserve safety, improve patient satisfaction and maintain our NHCH program where midwives are an integral part of our maternal care program,” said Ken Wood, North Hawaii Community Hospital’s President and CEO.
The hospital says its service area is defined by the Hawaii County Emergency Medical Response zone, which is the area north of a line roughly running from Laupahoehoe on the Hamakua coast across the Saddle to Kukio in North Kona.
The change impacts all new maternal care appointments, and exceptions will not be made, according to the hospital website.
Women who are already active and registered in a course of maternal care treatment with the Waimea Women’s Center can complete their care with the North Hawaii Community Hospital.
Catherine Cruz will have more on this story tonight on KITV4 News at 6.