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groundbreaking at East Hawaii Health Clinic Keaau

Access to Hawaii Island Medical Care Expanding with East Hawaii Health Clinic Keaau

If you notice new construction starting in Kea’au this September, it’s because this growing community just north of Hilo will be welcoming expanded clinic and specialty services as part of Hilo Medical Center’s new East Hawai’i Health Clinic network. The network is expanding into this area with the new East Hawaii Health Clinic Keaau thanks to a partnership with W.H. Shipman, Ltd.

East Hawaii Health Clinics, a department of Kaʻu Hospital, are certified Rural Health Clinics. The Rural Health Clinic designation allows Hawaii Health Systems Corporation East Hawaii Region to invest in more healthcare for the East Hawaii community. East Hawaii Health Clinics currently provide Primary Care, Urology, Otolaryngology (ENT), Allergy, General Surgery, Vascular, Neurology, Behavioral Health, Orthopedics, Cardiology and Cancer Care in Hilo. In addition, EHHC provides services to the Puna District with the Puna Community Medical Center and in the Kaʻu District at the Kaʻu Hospital Rural Health Clinic. 


“Our strategic plan calls for providing more essential services to the underserved communities within the Puna District. East Hawaii Health Clinic Keaau will provide primary care, behavioral health, and imaging, as well as access to the full complement of specialists in the East Hawaii Health Clinic network,” said Dan Brinkman, East Hawaii Regional CEO of Hawaii Health Systems Corporation. “We want to thank W. H. Shipman for making this optimal location in the heart of Keaʻau possible for patients and providers. Over time we hope to expand our healthcare services and keep pace with the long term growth of the Puna District.”

The construction won’t see any new buildings going up in Kea’au, rather facilities previously used as office spaces will be converted into clinic space that will help make accessing medical care easier for those who live in more rural areas further away from Hilo. The partnership with Shipman will see the former W.H. Shipman headquarters utilized as a clinic facility with new clinic space and an added parking lot.

“W.H. Shipman, Limited is honored and pleased to be partnering with Hawaiʻi Health Systems Corporation to provide a home for the East Hawaiʻi Health Clinic in Keaʻau,” said W. H. Shipman President Peggy Farias. “This project fits extremely well into our Keaʻau Village Master Plan, as well as our goal to bring a variety of opportunities and services to the Puna community. The clinic will not only make quality health care and specialists more accessible to the residents of the Puna region, but will also provide job opportunities and is expected to be a catalyst to bring other service providers to Keaʻau.”

The W.H. Shipman buildings, located at 16-523 Keaau-Pahoa Road have been the company’s headquarters for nearly 50 years, serving as a cornerstone of industry in the area. The buildings have stood witness to many historic moments including the closing of Puna Sugar, diversification of agriculture in Keaʻau, opening of the Shipman Business Park, building of new roads and schools, and the ongoing revitalization of Keaʻau Village with the opening of businesses including HMSA and Longs.


“We knew that we would need to place a very special tenant, one that would become a cornerstone of Keaʻau and be a real asset to our neighbors, into these buildings in order to honor our family and our heritage. The East Hawaii Health Clinic Keaau is a perfect fit because it represents the kind of public-private partnerships that our family and company have always worked toward and supported for the benefit of the community. We would like to thank Dan Brinkman and his team in the East Hawaii Region of Hawaiʻi Health Systems Corporation for embarking on this project with us, and we look forward to having their facility here in centrally located Keaʻau,” said Farias.

Construction at the newly converted facility for East Hawaii Health Clinic Keaau is scheduled to be completed by mid-2021. 

Learn more about Healthcare issues on Hawaii Island in our HEALTH section!

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