HONOLULU - Fast-growing communities in West Oahu will have their own hospital again in a little over a year if plans announced Friday by The Queen's Health Systems progress as scheduled.
The parent company of The Queen's Medical Center said it has signed papers to complete its purchase of the now-closed Hawaii Medical Center-West hospital in Ewa Beach.
It plans to expand and modernize the hospital's emergency, surgery and imaging services and reopen it in early 2014. It will rename the facility The Queen's Medical Center - West Oahu.
The area is home to rapidly expanding towns of Kapolei and Ewa Beach, resorts at Ko Olina and communities on the Waianae Coast. Yet, it has been without a hospital since Hawaii Medical Center went bankrupt last year and then closed the Ewa Beach hospital in December 2011.
The closure of the hospital and a second Hawaii Medical Center hospital in Liliha strained Oahu's other medical facilities. Many emergency rooms on the island had to turn away people not needing critical care because they were too crowded to accept more patients.
There's a critical need to reopen a hospital and emergency room in West Oahu, said Jerry Correa, CEO of St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii, which sold the shuttered facility to Queen's.
"We believe Queen's solid track record of quality care and thorough understanding of Hawaii's culture and the health needs of the local community make it ideally suited to operate the West Hospital," Correa said in a statement. "We have a deep appreciation for their mission."
Queen's says it's spending $70 million to buy the land and facilities and make renovations.
Queen's was founded in 1859 by Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV as smallpox, measles, mumps and other diseases brought to Hawaii by foreigners killed thousands of Native Hawaiians.
The royal couple personally went door-to-door to raise money for what was then called The Queen's Hospital, the organization's website says.
Queen's owns significant real estate - including International Marketplace in Waikiki - through its income-producing affiliate, Queen Emma Land Co.