Ho'okahua Project Wraps Up
Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2013

North Hawaii Community Hospital is the only small non-profit community hospital in the state of Hawaii.  Our mission is to “improve the health status of the people of North Hawaii by improving access to care and providing high quality services at a reasonable cost.”  Although this uniqueness has its benefits, it also brings its share of challenges.  In an effort to improve our ability to fulfill our mission and turn around our financial performance, we have been engaged in a performance improvement process called the “Ho’okahua Project” since January of this year. 

NHCH has recently completed the implementation phase of the Ho’okahua Project.  The goal of achieving $5 million improvement in bottom line operating profits was surpassed, and the path to further improvements has been identified.  This project was important in identifying ways to be more efficient in all areas and to improve the quality of care provided, while simultaneously improving our financial performance.

Accordingly, improvements were made in the four areas of focus:
•    Revenue Cycle - Dramatic improvements in the Patient Financial Services department reduced accounts receivable days outstanding to record lows and made huge improvements in our collection processes and results.
•    Non-Labor - Our purchasing contracts were reviewed and renegotiated for everything from suture material, to stethoscopes, to maintenance on our CT scanner.
•    Labor - Scheduling and staff efficiencies were introduced to improve our labor costs.
•    Physicians - The systems and processes we use to support our employed providers were improved, and several new providers have been recruited.

These improvements total more than $5,000,000 on an annual basis and were implemented by the NHCH management team with support, training, and coaching from the Huron team of consultants and Interim CEO Lowell Johnson.  By continuing to focus on all the details and working as a team, we have continued opportunities to improve in 2014.  In addition to improving our financial stability and our ability to fulfill our mission, the hospital is now better prepared for the changes in healthcare reimbursement and business practices required by The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

A big MAHALO goes to each of our 350 employees who worked so hard on Ho’okahua over the past nine months and an equally heartfelt mahalo to John Tiscornia, Lowell Johnson and the entire Huron team that has helped us so dramatically.