Written by: Diana Hembree

Maui is a paradise for tourists who flock to its white sand beaches, frolic in the ocean waters and hike the island’s beautiful mountain trails. But for native Hawaiians, there is another side to Maui that tourists don’t see. There, many Hawaiians struggle with unstable, low-wage jobs, grinding poverty and homelessness. With the collapse of the islands’ tourist industry during the pandemic and the earlier shutdown of Maui’s last sugar plantation, more have joined the unhoused Hawaiians, including families with children, who are living in cars and encampments along the coasts.

In this film, we join a mobile healthcare team from the Community Clinic of Maui and see telehealth in action as they visit the island’s tent communities that house hundreds of native Hawaiians. The filmmakers accompany the team as they drive 80 miles a day along the island’s coastal roads, treating patients in encampment after encampment, and their telehealth visits with the team in downtown Maui. The mobile telehealth team’s creation was not an easy one: clinic and mobile team members talk candidly about the obstacles to their work and the initial problems getting buy-in. Now it has the clinic’s full support, and the video discusses the relationship-building that made it happen.

Most of all, clinic members talk about their gratitude at being able to treat their fellow Hawaiians who urgently need help. “I always worry about the people here,” says Clytie Kanae, the mobile team’s community health worker. “I’m hoping someday I can reconnect them and instill hope that there is still a chance they can make it. Because Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind.”

The video was created by Beth Freeman and team for the Center for Care Innovations and Kaiser Permanente, which funded the mobile telehealth project in Maui as part of CCI’s Virtual Care Innovations Network, a virtual health collaboration founded by Kaiser Permanente.



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