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Hamakua-Kohala Health Celebrates

10 Year Anniversary in Kohala


In 2016, Hamakua-Kohala Health celebrated 50 years of being here for you and your ‘Ohana in Hamakua and 10 years in Kohala. By the mid ‘90s the last Hamakua area sugar plantation closed and there was a question of who would take care of the health of our community, so the Hamakua Health Center took over for the Hamakua area plantation Infirmary and has been providing excellent healthcare ever since. Hamakua-Kohala Health even won three awards last year!

The Hamakua-Kohala Health medical team is dedicated to providing primary and preventative services like Behavioral Health and Substance Use Disorder counseling, and many team members have been serving you for 10-30 years! This dedication is shown by not only the medical staff, but the support staff too.

Kohala Family Health Center Joins the Hamakua Health Center

In Kohala, Dr. Sylvia Sonnenschein took over the practice of two retiring doctors and created the Kohala Family Health Center. Ten years ago, with the reduction of healthcare services in North Kohala and at the request of Kohala residents, Hamakua Health Center acquired the Kohala Family Health Center, and in 2014 both clinics were renamed Hamakua-Kohala Health. Currently the two clinics serve over 5,000 people in our community.

Continuity is important and when Hamakua-Kohala Health began service at the Kohala Family Health Center, three Team Members came along: Dr. Sylvia Sonnenschein, Certified Medical Assistant II Nellie Villena and Clinic Manager Regina Gantala, who remembers, “It was a big change for us from being a private practice to being a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). We had to learn new guidelines and reporting to the Federal Government that we didn’t have to do as a private practice.”

Later Dena Soares came back to work at the clinic too, and like Regina, has been part of the team for about 10 years. She holds a multifunctional position in the front office and, “Is like a ‘mother’ to all of us at the Kohala clinic,” Regina says. “Dena goes beyond her duty to help anyone who needs a helping hand.”

Dena, replies, “Working as a team makes your day go by smoother and the best tool for a great team is communication.” When Regina thanks her for completing a task, she replies, “It’s teamwork. If not for the help of others, I wouldn’t be able to complete it myself.”

Regina also wants you to know, “I love working at Hamakua-Kohala Health. I’ve been here 10 years and I love helping people in our community.”

The HKH Team is Doing Everything Possible to be Here for You for Another 50 Years

Last fall Hamakua-Kohala Health conducted an important community survey, the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment and as always, is responding to the medical needs of our community and providing requested services.

One of the ways we can provide good care is through our membership in the 340B Drug Pricing Program where we obtain discounted prices on covered medications to provide qualifying patients with affordable prescription drugs, and it allows Hamakua-Kohala Health to stretch limited federal resources. All the drug savings is rolled back into the clinics and is used to help provide comprehensive primary and preventative healthcare regardless of the patient’s ability to pay or health insurance status.

Hamakua-Kohala Health has outgrown the space available at the clinics in Hamakua and Kohala and is in need of funds to rebuild our clinics and cover the increasing costs of operations and your support is key to helping us expand and serve you better.

Thank you for joining with us to accomplish great things!

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