Merger Message from the CEO

Aloha Patients and Friends of Bay Clinic,
We have good news to share. As some of you might know from our newsletter, that our most collaborative health partner has always been West Hawaii Community Health Center. And to me, the highest form of collaboration is CONSOLIDATION!

Read the Hawai'i Tribune Herald announcement:

So, a while back I approached West Hawai’i, CEO Richard Taffee with the idea of merging our operations so that we become ONE in serving the whole island. And he agreed that the idea was worth exploring. Haidee Abe, our Board Chair along with our board of directors, also thought it was a great idea.

Recently, both Boards got together, shared their hopes and fears and came to a consensus that a merger such as this will transform health care on the island. It would increase access to care, add more services, and create more opportunities for our employees.

And so… the actual merger won’t take place until July of 2022. No one will lose their jobs because of the merger. In fact, it is likely that we will need to hire more employees. As for our loyal patients, this merger will provide better access to care, which includes more options for Island wide services and more providers. Nothing will change on your end except updating your records under the new name which has yet to be determined. We will be updating this website with key notification as we get closer to the merger. Stay tuned.

B-Safe, B-Mindful, and always the double shaka shaka

Merger Q & A

1) What does it mean to merge two health entities?
Simply put, it means that two become one and so West Hawaii Community Health Center (“West Hawaii”) and Bay Clinic will be one combined organization.

2) How will this merger be good for Hawai’i Island?
The combined organization will have more resources and capacity to serve more patients across Hawaii Island, create more opportunities for employment, and leverage the best of each organization to provide enhanced care.

3) Who approves the merger?
The merger of Bay Clinic and the West Hawaii has been approved by both organizations’ board of directors. Now, the merger needs to be approved by Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that is the governing agency for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) like West Hawaii and Bay Clinic.

4) What are the risks?
The potential risk of any merger is that the proper approvals may not come through. We think this is very unlikely and that HRSA, the regulatory body for FQHCs will actually welcome this merger because it will enhance access to care for all of Hawaii Island.

Other risks may be that there are operational issues in the implementation of the merger, but we have a plan in place to mitigate these risks that include finance, IT, operations and HR.

5) What does this merger mean for the patients of Bay and patients of West Hawaii?
Patients of both West Hawaii Community Health Center and Bay Clinic will have access to more resources, providers, and support through this merger. There may be some changes in the way patients communicate with their current clinic (e.g., we may have enhanced phone systems) but generally, the merger will improve the quality of care and access to care.

6) How does this merger impact the employees?
First, no one will lose their jobs because of this merger. In fact, we may need to hire more employees. Also, employees of both Bay Clinic and West Hawaii Community Health Center will have the opportunity to work for a much larger organization, with the potential to work in their preferred location across Hawaii Island.

7) What will be the governance of the new merged organization?
Both West Hawaii and Bay Clinic will have 11 board members on the combined organization's board so there will be equal representation of board members from each organization. Board chair will be Mike Matsukawa and Board vice chair will be Haidee Abe.

8) What’s Next?
The effective date of the merger is the close of Bay Clinic’s fiscal year on July 1, 2022.

The merger will be a phased consolidation process to insure success and a smooth transition. An integration of services and personnel including Finance, IT (EHR), and HR have begun so that both operations are fully aligned by July 1, 2022. Both entities will keep their names and identities with Kimo Alameda and Richard Taaffe continuing as CEOs of their respective organizations until the merger is finalized, of which Richard Taaffe will serve as the CEO with Kimo Alameda working alongside, as part of the new dynamic island-wide leadership team.

A new Board of Directors led by Mike Matsukawa (West Hawai’i) and Haidee Abe (Bay) will be formed with equal representation from both Bay Clinic and West Hawaii Community Health Center with the newly constituted board taking effect on July 1.

Prior to July 1, the parties will formulate board related materials, committee assignments, organizational charts and matters pertinent to governance. The new Board of Directors will decide on a name for the new entity that unifies the brand.


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