LIHUE — As part of a rebranding campaign to get closer to the local community, Malama Pono Health Services is bringing medical help to its patients, both literally and figuratively.
As Kauai’s health needs have evolved, MPHS is adapting, by introducing a new mobile health services unit that will travel islandwide to treat patients who have difficulty traveling to Lihue.
“Transportation is a huge issue on our island for some folks,” said Mistee Bailey-Myrick, MPHS president and CEO. “So for us, it was really about meeting people where they’re at, and that’s been a big thing for us for sometime now, especially because of the work that we do.”
The Hawaii Medical Service Association, Friends of Hawaii and others helped fund MPHS’ new mobile health unit.
Rob Anderson, chief operating officer of MPHS, said that recent reductions in state support and federal funding have restricted MPHS’ ability to reach out to the community and provide needed education and testing.
Anderson and Bailey- Myrick know that even with the financial constraints they have to step up efforts to serve patients.
Along with the new mobile health unit, MPHS has a new logo, website and exam rooms in the Lihue office, as well as enhanced women’s health services.
“We’re really trying to come in and help out in those niche areas,” Bailey-Myrick said. “Many women, men and teens on Kauai are facing health care issues, and they don’t know where to go.”
“When you think about it, when we test people in the office, some of the tests we do aren’t resulted right away,” she said. “So say if they came back positive for something, they still have to make it back in and come in for the actual treatment, which is necessary. In essence, that helps us keep communicable diseases down.”
MPHS also provides reproductive health care, case management for HIV/AIDS clients, smoking-cessation programs, transgender services and parenting programs.
The new mobile health unit will be launched this fall. Anderson said the idea for the unit came around about a year ago due to complaints from patients.
“We have a survey that people take and a lot of people say that they have trouble getting to us, especially from the Westside,” Anderson said. “So we met with AMR (American Medical Response) to discuss taking over one of their older units and they agreed that it was a necessary service that we could provide to the community.”
When the mobile unit is to ready for operation, patients will be able to find the unit’s location on the island on MPHS’ website, www.mphskauai.org.