New Hawaii State Hospital facility to open after delays

HONOLULU — State officials expect the Hawaii State Hospital to finally open its new psychiatric facility in about two weeks after more than a year of delays.

State Department of Health officials told a state Senate briefing on Monday the delays were caused by a lack of policies and procedures and difficulty recruiting staff. They also cited flaws with shower floors, door handles and hinges, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

The hospital primarily houses patients with significant mental health issues who have been ordered there by the courts after committing crimes. Courts may also order people to stay there while they wait for evaluations on whether they are mentally fit to stand trial.

The $160 million, newly-built 144-bed facility in Kaneohe was finished in early 2021. The Honolulu Fire Department granted a certificate of occupancy that February. But the Department of Health took months to create policies and procedures for operating the faci­lity and to consult unions representing staff. New recruitment didn’t begin until May.

Marian Tsuji, the department’s deputy director of behavioral health, said this work should have begun earlier.

She said department staff were also juggling the daily operations of the existing facility in the midst of a pandemic.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.