Health Care for Molokaʻi


By Dr. Naleen Andrade and Jan Kalanihuia

The Queen’s Health System is committed to providing high quality, safe, compassionate care and has worked hard to increase access so patients can receive their care where, when and how they want it.

As a Queen’s affiliate, Molokaʻi General Hospital (MGH) takes seriously its kuleana to care for the island’s 7,500 residents, offering Women’s Health, Primary Care and Emergency services, a blood banking laboratory, digital CT, digital X-ray, digital mammography, outpatient chemotherapy, acute care, physical therapy and a full-service midwifery program that is a national model for rural areas. While physician shortages remain, we are working towards permanent solutions.

The Queen’s Clinically Integrated Physician Network (QCIPN) has grown to 1,350 providers across the state, and this past year, we implemented centralized scheduling for primary care patients, improving primary care access by up to 38% (based on early data). We also completed an enterprise-wide redesign of “access to care,” increasing the availability of physician office visits and streamlining our referral management processes.

Additionally, the Queen’s Innovation Institute, which launched in March 2023 and is the first of its kind in Hawaiʻi, will use technology to improve access to care. The Innovation Institute’s initial focus is to advance our digital platform to expand care across the state. We also will be launching Hawaiʻi’s first Care-at-Home program and building our Virtual Nursing program, among other leading-edge initiatives.

To develop the next generation of providers, Molokaʻi Health Foundation (MHF) and MGH established a scholarship program to assist Molokaʻi keiki o ka ʻāina who plan to continue their education in health care. MGH also offers a pharmacy school scholarship each year.

In line with our mission, we are aiming to significantly reduce health inequities within vulnerable populations, especially Native Hawaiians who experience the greatest health disparities. The sudden passing of two of our long-time primary care physicians who cared for more than half of Molokaʻi’s population affected us deeply, and this loss led us to pause our efforts to implement a population health transformation for the island’s Native Hawaiian residents. However, we anticipate restarting this initiative later in 2024 once physician coverage is secured and our community’s grief has eased.

Proudly, MGH passed The Joint Commission survey – a patient-centered, data-driven evaluation of care processes – with only one minor infraction. MGH has an ED satisfaction score consistently above 97%, and 90% of our full-time RN positions are filled. Even more, Molokaʻi General Hospital was recently named one of the top 20 critical access hospitals for quality in the country as determined by the Chartis Center for Rural Health for Best Practice in Quality.

MGH leaders embody their ancestral traditions expressed in the words Palena ʻole ka hana hoʻōla a ko Molokaʻi – boundless is the healing work by Molokai’s people! They overcome challenges and encourage others to focus on the desired outcomes rather than the obstacles that exist. While longer-term solutions, such as enhanced air transportation, will require additional collaboration and resources, we remain committed to delivering care that is close to home for all who live on Molokaʻi.

Naleen Andrade, MD, EVP, is the Native Hawaiian Health & Chief Officer Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Social Justice for The Queen’s Health System. Jan Kalanihuia is the president of Moloka‘i General Hospital.