On Saturday, November 26, 2011, Ka`u Rural Health Community Association, Inc. in partnership with The American Cancer Society and HMSA, hosted its first annual Ka`u Community Floating Lantern Ceremony at Punalu`u Black Sands Beach Park.
Hui Okinawa Kobudo Taiko Group
Soka Gakkai International
Kahu Kimo Awai, Hilo Chapter Youth and Women’s Division
Providing entertainment by Taiko drummers, hula dancers, and musicians, the free event was an opportunity for Ka`u residents to come together to honor the past, present and future generations.
Following a potluck lunch, the different families experienced a camaraderie as they worked alongside each other to create and decorate their choice of lotus blossom or box-style floating lanterns to celebrate their own loved ones.
Family members gathered at the water’s edge near sunset and, accompanied by the music of guest singer Keoki Kahumoku, set their lanterns afloat on the surface of Medicine Pond.
Dusk brought with it a sense of peace gently illuminated by the light of a sea of lanterns crafted out of love, as people reflected on the lives and memories of their friends and loved ones.
A two-hour road trip to the Hilo Medical Center or Kona Community Hospital, the search for a good parking space, and twiddling your thumbs in a room full of sick people are all about to become things of the past. That’s because Ka‘u Rural Health Community Association’s (KRHCAI) Health and Wellness Partnership with the Hawai‘i Medical Service Association (HMSA) is promoting a pilot project to help Ka‘u residents receive better access to health care.
The pilot project will make HMSA’s Online Care available for all Ka‘u residents. Residents can use computers at the Ka‘u Resource and Distance Learning Center in Pahala Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon by appointment. With the use of laptops, appointments can be made for outreach to residents in Oceanview, Naalehu, Discovery Harbor, Pahala, and Wood Valley. Program staff members have been trained to help residents through the use of tele-health technology, where patients get real-time medical and health advice from HMSA credentialed physicians or other health care providers.
HMSA’s Online Care provides fast and easy access to participating health care providers from across the state. With the click of a mouse, HMSA members and nonmembers in Ka‘u will have:
Immediate access to a variety of specialists, securely and privately.
The convenience of having live interaction with a health care provider online or by phone.
A choice of doctors based on criteria such as specialty, language, or gender.
Health Information in one place.
Quality care from rated providers who can recommend treatment and write prescriptions online.
Continuity of care with the ability to send detailed care reports to their primary care doctor or another care coordinator.
The Ka‘u-HMSA Online Connection team is led by program manager “Auntie” Jessie Marques, office manager Theresa Richardson, and program assistant Rochele Gacayan. The goal is to increase awareness about alternative access to health care in part of Hawaii Island’s rural, underserved, and geographically isolated community. “Once people become more familiar with HMSA’s Online Care, we hope to build the capacity of community engagement, through health education and prevention,” says Auntie Jessie.
For questions or more information about the HMSA Online Connection Pilot Project, call the Ka‘u Resource and Distance Learning Center at (808) 928-0101.
HMSA is a nonprofit, mutual benefit association founded in Hawaii in 1938. It is governed by a community board of directors that includes representatives from health care, business, labor, government, education, clergy, and the community. HMSA is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
To learn more about HMSA Online Care, visit: