HISTORY OF KAUAI VETERANS MEMORIAL HOSPITAL
KVMH provides a full service emergency department, general surgery and specialty surgery of ophthalmology, family and internal medicine services, an intensive care unit, obstetrics and gynecology, and pediatrics. KVMH also provides the ancillary services of physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, respiratory therapy, a clinical laboratory, and a full service department of radiology. The hospital is the first line of defense not only for the health of the Westside residents, but for routine care and emergencies arising from the nearby Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) and Koke’e State Park.
Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital originated in 1938 as a sugar plantation dispensary, to meet the health care needs of plantation owners and employees. With the growth of the community the Territory of Hawaii recognized the need for a more substantial facility, and the Territorial Legislative Act 73 subsequently provided for the construction of the original portion of the present facility, opened to the public on February 25, 1957. Administration of the facility was granted to the island of Kauai. On July 1, 1965, all county medical facilities were transferred to the State of Hawaii for operation and all other functions.
A new surgical operating suite and clinical service addition were opened in 1978. In 1992, a new medical/surgical patient wing was added. 1996 saw the completion and occupancy of the attached Kawaiola Medical Office Building.
The district of Waimea is rural, with most land devoted to cattle ranching and what was once sugar cane but now are corn fields. The town of Waimea hosts a single resort with a few smaller inns and bed and breakfasts. The community continues to grow and boasts an active community / business development association, geared towards continual growth and community enhancement. Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital holds a crucial position in the current and future viability of the entire West side community.
HISTORY OF SAMUEL MAHELONA MEMORIAL HOSPITAL
Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital was one of the first hospitals on Kauai. Founded in 1917 by the Planter’s Association, it was designed as a memorial to Samuel Mahelona, son of Emma Kauikeolani Napoleon Mahelona Wilcox. She was the wife of Albert Wilcox.
Since Samuel Mahelona died at a young age of tuberculosis, the hospital was designed to serve tuberculosis patients on Kauai. Additional buildings were added over the years to accommodate increasing numbers of patients and services.
Mahelona Memorial Hospital has made a number of transitions since the early 1960’s, when antibiotics established the cure of tuberculosis. In 1961, Mahelona began admitting persons with acute mental illness and a separate psychiatric unit was opened in 1983. The enduring quality of family centered care translated into psychiatric care, long-term care, and ancillary services.
In October 1986, Mahelona again expanding services, with the start of Ka Ea Hou Mahelona Hospice for terminally ill patients. Former staff quarters were converted into a hospice facility with privacy and ocean views. As hospice care became more accepted, it was moved out of the hospital and an independent organization assumed the program.
These facilities then transformed into the East Kauai Walk-In Clinic – Medical Office Building. There, Drs. Emmet McEleney, Robert Warnock and Gilbert Hagar leased space for their practices. Since then, it continues to serve as a specialty clinic under the West Kauai Clinics focusing on the East and North shore communities. Drs. Graham Chelius, Elisabeth Biuk, Connie Lutkevich and Narreinar Williams, provide their expertise in Family Medicine, General Surgery and Obstetrics and Gynecology on certain days throughout the month. Along with these care areas, outpatient services such as radiology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and laboratory services are also available and convenient for east and north shore residents.
Over the last few years, Mahelona has been fortunate to have received much needed capital funding for needed improvement projects in the facility and on and around the campus. Some of those improvements can be seen by the recent re-building of the Multi-purpose room, beautification in and around the inner courtyard as well as a re-paved driveway entrance and front and side parking lots.
As Mahelona continues into its next 100 years, our vision is to continuously look at innovative ways to improve the high quality of care that we provide our residents and community.