HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii’s healthcare worker shortage continues to get worse. According to a recent survey from the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, vacancy rates went from 10% in 2019, to 17% in 2022.
The shortages are most felt on the neighbor islands, but a proposal in the state legislature could help.
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Maui County is currently dealing with the highest vacancy rate with Molokai and Lanai having very little healthcare options for residents.
But even Maui residents are struggling too. One Maui resident said he’s had an ear infection for about 10 months.
“I still have hearing issues and I cannot fully clear my right ear and I’m still dealing with the same problem,” he explained to KHON2.
He said he went to a clinic twice in two months and then was referred to an ENT specialist, but the ENT provided the same treatment and care as the clinic; which was antibiotics and nasal steroids.
At the follow-up visit a few months later, the ENT specialist asked the man about his hearing, and the resident said it hadn’t improved or gotten worse, but it was difficult to hear out of one of his ears.
That’s when the ENT specialist told him it would take another month to have a hearing specialist look at his ear.
Frustrated with the same unsuccessful treatment, he’s been trying to find a way to get to Honolulu where there are more options, but, he can’t fly on a plane due to his ear.
It’s just one of ma