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Tiffany Santiago – MA2, Referral Specialist

Let’s congratulate Tiffany on becoming a Certified Medical Assistant 2 (MA2)! Now she can work directly with patients, which is what she wants to do. Most MA2s take a six-week course, but her class was only one week long. Tiffany is a highly-focused self-starter, borrowed a book, studied on her own, crammed six weeks into one and passed her state exam!

Tiffany was born and raised in Honoka’a, is a Hula instructor, a hair dresser, a good cook and has three children! “She’s very accomplished for someone so young,” says her supervisor Cy. “Every day is a memorable moment,” Tiffany said.

“I want to work in the community I raise my children in,” said Tiffany, who believes our community is important and every person needs to do their part to contribute to our overall health and well-being.

As she cared for her mother at the end of her life, Tiffany learned a lot about patient advocacy and felt she needed to bridge the gap between patient and provider, since some patients can’t. “I love being in the healthcare field and touching people’s lives. I can’t see myself doing anything else. We need to help one patient at a time and remember every patient has needs. They are not just paperwork.”

Tiffany has been in the healthcare field for about four years, three at local pharmacies and almost one year at HKH where she began as a temporary Refills Specialist and transitioned to the Referral Specialist at HHC.

Cy also believes “Tiffany is a perfectionist and a good example for everyone. Success is not measured in money, it’s the happiness you achieve and the legacy you leave behind. Tiffany is an achiever in my book!”


Beverly Hiraoka

Medical Billing Associate Beverly Hiraoka has been working with the Hamakua-Kohala Health for 32 years in various capacities; as a cashier, a transcriptionist and most importantly medical billing associate. Beverly has the very important task of bringing in money from insurance companies to help keep the clinics going strong. “I take pride in seeing the positive outcome for the work I do,” Beverly tells us.

As a cashier at The Infirmary, Beverly worked directly with patients and, “Got to know and see the children of our patients grow up and got to meet some of my classmate’s parents. That was nice. When your family gets sick it’s nice that the healthcare providers were right here.”

Beverly remembers when the Hamakua Sugar plantation closed, “It was a little scary because we had to survive on our own financially without the plantation. Then everything seemed to settle down and we were okay after that. I enjoy working with the team at HKH and have grown throughout the years.”

Beverly especially loves singing at Ladies Night Out, both past and present, and helping pamper the women of our community. “I was asked to sing, that’s my passion,” said Beverly. “For several years I did karaoke and then I started singing with my ukulele.”

Beverly’s favorite song is “Grandpa,” by The Judds and is perfect for remembering all the transitions she experienced; from the multiple plantation infirmaries she knew as a child; through The Infirmary; then the Hamakua Health Center; and finally, she watched our medical team grow when the Kohala clinic came aboard and we became Hamakua-Kohala Health. “Grandpa, tell me about the good old days … Grandpa take me back to yesterday … And Grandpa let’s wander back into the past … And paint me a picture of long ago … ”


Dena Soares

Customer Service Specialist Dena Soares has been with Hamakua-Kohala Health for 9 ½ years. Before joining our team, she was an employee of Dr. Sonnenschein’s private practice, the Kohala Family Health Center. Dena holds a multi-functional position, checking patients in and out, registering new patients, helping patients with our sliding fee and Quest application, answering phones, scheduling appointments, verifying eligibility and any other tasks that come her way in the front office.  Regina says, “She is like a ‘mother’ to all of us at the Kohala clinic. She’s always providing food for staff to eat during our work day.”

During her evenings and Sundays; she spends her time in fellowship with church members, enjoys fishing, cooking, going to the movies, and spending time with her grandkids and family. She goes beyond her duty to help anyone who needs a helping hand. Dena always says, “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.”

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