HAWAII: Hospital Combines Western, Ancient Medicines
When Earl Bakken stepped down in 1989 as chairman of Medtronic Inc., the Minneapolis-based company he founded after inventing the first battery-powered wearable pacemaker, he moved to Hawaii in search of a peaceful retirement. Instead, Bakken joined an effort to build a hospital in Waimea and has just completed a term as board president of the North Hawaii Community Hospital, the first hospital in the country to blend technology-driven western medicine with traditional Hawaiian, Asian and holistic healing arts, the Los Angeles Times reports. The community-owned facility -- which opened in 1996 and ranked first last year in a national survey of patient satisfaction -- staffs specialists such as gastroenterologists and cardiologists alongside acupuncturists, chiropractors and massage therapists, and its pharmacy stocks herbal remedies in addition to traditional drug supplies. While hospitals around the country are struggling to make money, North Hawaii is actually ahead of budget forecasts. Bakken hopes the facility, which features rooms that open onto a garden and skylights that draw in sunlight, will eventually attract visitors from around the world. "We offer the best of high-tech and high touch. We aim to heal the mind, body and spirit," he said (Essoyan, 8/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.