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UHA and Hawaii Primary Care Association

UHA and Hawaii Primary Care Association

in Blog by UHA Health Insurance

Bringing wellness to the workplace

What is the HPCA?
The Hawaii Primary Care Association is a non-profit organization that supports Hawaii’s 14 community health centers with technical assistance, training, grant writing, policymaking, partnership development and long-range planning. By handling these duties, the community health centers are able to focus on their day-to-day operations so they can provide the best care possible. Each year, the centers serve over 160,000 kamaaina including 46,000 keiki.

What is a community health center?
Community health centers are federally funded and provide care to anyone regardless of their ability to pay. While they are located in underserved communities, these centers are open to all, including those who do have insurance. Every center must meet strict federal standards for quality. Services can include comprehensive primary care, pediatrics, dental care, substance abuse treatment, optometry and more.

What makes them different?
Community health centers are community-focused, meaning they cater their services to specific community needs. Many centers provide language interpretation, transportation, community gardens, exercise facilities, child daycare, financial counseling and other non-clinical services. Community health centers also provide job opportunities by hiring from within their own community.

Why are community health centers good for everyone?
By providing primary care to underserved communities, doctors can prevent small medical problems from turning into bigger (more costly) ones. This helps to control statewide medical costs and in turn, keeps everyone’s health insurance premiums lower. A healthier workforce also results in a stronger economy, so everyone benefits.

How has UHA helped HPCA?
UHA’s in-house Work Well team coordinates with employers to build healthier workplaces. For the HPCA, a wellness challenge was started using Wellable, an easy-to-use mobile app. HPCA employees were invited to join in the friendly challenge where activities such as walking, surfing or healthy eating earned points. The HPCA found the wellness challenge so beneficial to their own employees that they decided to open the challenge to all community health center employees.

What benefits did employees see from the challenge?
The challenge helped caregivers to focus on their own health after 2 heroic years of caring for others during the pandemic. By creating teams and having team goals, coworkers also had something fun to talk about beyond work, which strengthened the social connections that are vital to any workforce. Most importantly, the challenge gave employees a chance to laugh and smile, reducing the stress in their daily life.

What do the leaders of HPCA have to say about UHA?
“I like that it’s a local company that was founded by physicians. I think one of the founding physicians even worked with the community health centers before. So just philosophically, we believe in UHA. And we’ve stayed with them because they’ve always provided us with good service.” – Kathy Suzuki-Kitagawa, MPH, Chief Operating Officer

“Because they’re not a large bureaucracy, they’re more nimble. It’s more local-style, family oriented, so I like that. They fit our needs better and they partner with us – a good example being the wellness challenge.” – Robert Hirokawa, DrPH, Chief Executive Officer

Who are the 14 community health centers that belong to HPCA?

Kalihi-Pālama Health Center |
Kōkua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services |
Ko‘olauloa Health Center |
Wahiawā Health |
Wai‘anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center |
Waikīkī Health |
Waimānalo Health Center |

Hawaii island
Hawai‘i Island Community Health Center |
Hāmākua Health Center |

Maui, Lanai, Molokai
Hāna Health |
Malama I Ke Ola Health Center |
Lāna‘i Community Health Center |
Moloka‘i Community Health Center |

Kaua‘i Community Health Center |

How can a company learn more about bringing wellness to their own workplace?
At UHA, we’d love to help. Please contact UHA’s Work Well team at email: [email protected].

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