Maui Health CEO announces intention to retire this spring News, Sports, Jobs

Maui Health Head Michael Rembis, who oversees three hospitals in the county, has announced his retirement this spring.

In a Friday news release, Maui Health CEO Rembis said, “I leave knowing that Maui Health is well positioned for future growth, expanded specialty services and exceptional care by a healthcare team committed to serving the Maui County community.”

she said she is “We are proud of the many accomplishments we have made and the incredible team of professionals who have made this possible.”

Rembis, who joined Maui Health in 2017, did not explain his retirement in a news release, but said in an internal memo to staff, providers and volunteers that he would remain on Maui and that he wanted to spend time with his children and grandchildren. looking forward to.

There were rumors earlier this week about Rembis being fired as CEO, but Maui Health spokeswoman Tracy Dalarda confirmed Friday that Rembis’ retirement is not related to what was circulating earlier this week. Rembis was not available for comment Friday, but interviews with the media have been scheduled for Monday.

The news release states that Maui Health will be planning a smooth transition and will begin a national search for a new CEO. The sources with knowledge of the transition but not authorized to speak publicly said that Rembis will be available as a consultant through the end of the year and that Kaiser Permanente plans to bring in someone on an interim basis in February or March. Is.

Rembis joined Maui Health a year after Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lanai Community Hospital were converted into one of the public hospitals under the Maui Health System affiliated with Kaiser. Rembis had to deal with the consequences of the transition, which included contracts with unions and employees unhappy about the change.

He was also on top of being hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and dealing with the outbreak at the hospital along with patients and staff.

As cases mounted, the outbreak drew criticism from health care workers who were disenchanted with hospital policies and community members who called for the removal of top leadership. Criticism of the administration continues.

But Rembis and his staff also set up community vaccine clinics around the island and at the hospital, inoculating thousands of people.

The news release said that Rembis was led by “significant improvement” To three main hospitals with Maui Memorial Outpatient Clinic and Kula Clinic. It is also noted that Maui Health has consistently received national recognition in heart, stroke and diabetes care. In addition, under Rembis’ leadership, Maui Health recently opened a Wound Care and Hyperbaric Therapy Center and led the recruitment of several new physician specialists.

“Mike has guided Maui Health through a critical time in health care and through the unexpected challenges of the global pandemic,” said Kim Horn, executive vice president and group president at Kaiser Foundation Health Plans & Hospitals. “I am grateful for his leadership and look forward to his partnership as we plan this leadership transition.”

Also in the news release, Maui Health Board of Directors member Clay Sutherland said, “Mike has provided outstanding, experienced leadership. His collaborative nature and determination to improve the quality of care and increase access to more physician specialists for our community is an important legacy.

In a statement Friday afternoon, United Public Workers state director Kalani Werner commended Rembis for his service and wished him well.

But Werner noted how Maui Health “Despite more than eight months of negotiations, our members have yet to be offered a fair contract.”

The UPW is a union that represents about 500 nurse aides, respiratory therapists, housekeepers, cooks and other hospital workers.

“We hope the new CEO will prioritize the needs of our dedicated workforce by offering a contract that will fairly compensate them for their hard work and dedication to providing high-quality healthcare to the Maui community.” Werner added.

He said the union is looking forward “To cooperate with the new leadership” To address the ongoing challenges being faced by the health care system as well as to reach a fair contractual agreement.

Maui lawmakers State Sen. Gil Keith-Agran and State Representative Troy Hashimoto, both of whose districts include Maui Memorial Medical Center, gave credit to Rembis but also voiced support for a new CEO. “an acquaintance” with the local health system.

“He worked hard to implement the transition from state management to hospitals and guide them through the height of the pandemic.” Keith-Agran said in a text message. He also wished Rembis on his retirement.

Hashimoto said: “Being a CEO during a pandemic has been tough.”

“But I’m really worried about who will replace him.” Hashimoto said Kaiser is planning a nationwide search. “I’d love someone who understands our community.”

Of the concerns heard, Hashimoto said residents “Wanted a hospital that reflected the community.”

“I hope they keep this in mind as they search for a new CEO.” Hashimoto added.

keith-agran said: “I hope they can find someone local and particularly familiar with the Maui Nui healthcare landscape – there is a lot of work to be done to ensure and improve services in our county.”

*Melissa Tanji can be reached at [email protected]

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