An effort to bring health care to Big Island communities with limited resources is growing larger by the day. Rep. Robert Herkes has enlisted the help of Ka‘u community leader Auntie Jessie Marques and the Ka‘u Rural Health Community Association (KRHCAI) as he and the Kona Community Hospital get ready to roll out a new mobile medical van.
“The van will provide physical, mobile access to care,” said Herkes. “Auntie Jessie and her team will supplement those efforts through virtual care.”
The 32 ½ foot van is being blessed this Saturday in a noon ceremony at the Kona Community Hospital. Appropriately named Ka‘a Ho‘ōla, the van will focus on “growing rural health care” in South Kona. Initially, it will target school-age children by offering vaccinations, immunizations, and school physicals. Eventually, the van will reach out to other residents to provide urgent care services, health education, and disaster relief during an emergency.
Kona Community Hospital will own and operate the van, which, thanks to the efforts of Rep. Herkes and the Legislature, is equipped with wireless tele-health capabilities. Using HMSA’s Online Care, staff will be able to provide patients with access to medical specialists when needed. KRHCAI will enhance those efforts by welcoming residents to its resource center in Pahala and offering guidance in using Online Care.