To reach Lana‘i, Hawai‘i’s smallest publicly-accessible inhabited island, there are two options: a $200 round-trip flight from Honolulu or a $60 ferry ride from Maui. For the 44 percent of the island’s population who have incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, the only option for affordable on-island health care is the Lana’i Community Health Center (LCHC, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). LCHC previously operated out of a converted three-bedroom home, too small for the clinic to provide adequate health care to the remote island community. LCHC could not provide essential services, including obstetrics, mammography, psychiatry, inpatient substance abuse treatment, and oral health care. Typically, babies were born in Honolulu or Maui, and mothers-to-be relocated preterm.
In order to improve access, CEI Capital Management LLC (CCML) utilized the NMTC to attract $7.8 million in private capital to the native Hawaiian-led FQHC. With that financing, LCHC constructed a new 6,800 sq. ft. healthcare facility that opened in May 2016, which not only was more easily accessible but also nearly doubled LCHC’s patient capacity. It includes nine exam rooms, dental x-ray machinery, two dental operatories, lab facilities, and a community activity room. As of 2019, LCHC was serving 70 percent of the island’s population and continues to focus on providing the highest quality health care for all its patients, regardless of insurance status.
LCHC has also worked diligently to become an employer of choice for Lana‘i residents. As of 2019, LCHC directly employs 38 full-time and 8 part-time staff, and 46 percent grew up on the island. LCHC is active in building the next generation of healthcare workers through scholarships to local student graduates pursuing a college degree in a health-related field and their student internship programs. Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, LCHC has served as an important community resource, both for testing and for information shared in an accessible and culturally sensitive way. It is clear that in all its actions, LCHC remains focused on their motto: E Ola n¬ Lana‘i – Life, Health, and Well Being for Lana‘i.