Article submitted by Christina Cummins, MS LPC
Prior to 2021, the Puna community didn’t have much in the way of services for urgent care and was frustratingly short on primary care doctors. When we got sick, many of us were forced to go to the ER, to sit in a packed waiting room, until we finally got care. Who can blame us? Puna patients were seeing higher rates of ER visits and many believe this was because of the lack of access to services. East Hawaii health knew that something needed to change. The numbers don’t lie. Our community was elated with the opening of the East Hawaii Health Clinic in Kea’au in 2021. East Hawaii Health clinic has sites in Hilo, Puna, and Ka’u.
Better Access to Healthcare
I spoke by email with Dr. Shauna Paylor who is a physician at the East Hawaii Health Clinic in Kea’au. Here’s what she had to say, “Our new clinic opened in May and we have had an amazing response from the community. Patients are happy with the quality of our care… We make it easy for patients to access services, which makes them more likely to follow through on their health care.”
Collaboration Leads to Continuity of Care
Dr. Paylor also elaborated about the benefits of having services under one roof. “It is helpful having both [primary care & urgent care] under the same roof from an access standpoint. For instance, if one of my primary care patients becomes ill and my schedule is full, then he/she is able to come to our clinic and see a provider the same day. Our electronic health record allows us to see notes and test results even if another provider in the clinic sees our patient. This helps with continuity of care.”
This continuity of care leads to something huge that most of us never get in our healthcare: collaboration. Now, you can have multiple experts collaborating on the different aspects of your care. Expert collaboration means the patient not only gets all of the services they need but that providers can actually talk to one another. All of that amounts to better health outcomes for us.
“It is important for patients to establish care with a primary care provider to be the point person for all of their health care needs. Family medicine providers can take care of the majority of a patient’s needs and can coordinate access to specialists if needed. They take care of all ages – newborn to the elderly, they do gynecology, mental health care, procedures and emphasize preventive medicine like vaccines and screening tests. This is important to help keep people healthy. Heart disease and cancer are the 2 leading causes of death in the U.S. and they are preventable and treatable.” says Dr. Paylor.
Wide Array of Services to Fit Community Needs
As Covid-19 has transitioned all of us away from the hospital, the East Hawaii Health clinic in Kea’au has become the community’s hub for services. In addition to the primary care and urgent care services they offer: therapy, family planning, x-rays, all types of testing (Covid-19 tests included), school and work physicals, the list goes on.
Dr. Paylor went on to share about the services they provide- “We are fortunate to have a psychiatric nurse practitioner here as well. Psychiatric services are limited on the island, and this is a great resource for our patients.”
The hours of operation were designed for real people with real lives (and real jobs). The clinic is open 7 days a week, 7 am-7pm (except holidays) with a focus on urgent care on the weekends.
They have such flexible hours for a reason and Dr. Paylor put it best “We are all passionate about our work and are committed to serving the Keaau community.”
Oh, and to become a patient, it’s as easy as dropping by and picking up a new patient packet. There is no need to delay your check-up. Swing by the Kea’au clinic at 16-523 Keaau-Pahoa Rd, Keaau, HI 96749 and pick up your new patient packet today.
For more information, check out the East Hawai’i Health Clinic at Kea’au website: https://www.easthawaiihealthclinics.org/east-hawaii-health-clinic-at-keaau/