Q: What is Maui Health System doing to address the primary care and specialist doctor shortage on Maui?
Physician recruitment is critical to Maui Health System's mission to provide excellent health care to the communities we serve. We have been working very closely with our medical leadership to determine where the critical gaps are for physicians in our county. According to a recent Hawaii physician workforce survey by the University of Hawaii, Maui County is short by about 141 doctors, including 44 primary care physicians (PCP) (The Maui News, 9/18/18). We're committed to not just meeting but exceeding the health care needs of our community. To do that, we've dedicated ourselves to a goal of bringing in at least 10 physicians per year for the next three years. This year, we already have four new physicians on island that we'll be introducing to the community - Dr. Derrick Beech, an Oncological Surgeon, Dr. Stephanie Yan, a Trauma Surgeon, and Neurosurgeons, Dr. Christopher Taleghani and Dr. Joel Ulloth. We have also confirmed a general/vascular surgeon to start in March. Additionally, we are still aggressively recruiting for trauma, oncology, gastroenterology, internal medicine, pulmonology, cardiology, nephrology and urology. The shortage in PCPs causes longer wait times for patients and without specialty physicians for services like spine or orthopedic procedures, our residents are forced to fly to Oahu, or even the mainland, to get timely care. We know, and studies have shown, that healing happens best when close to home and ‘ohana. Physician recruitment comes with many challenges but we're doing everything we can to not only find and recruit the best talent in the world, but to make sure they, and their family, find a place in our community and become a lifelong resource for superb medical care for our islands' residents and visitors.