History of West Kauai Medical Center

With the need for healthcare in the community evident, the Waimea Hospital and Morgue was built in 1927 at the end of Ola Road. The facility was supported by the three neighboring plantations and local businesses in the area.

By 1957, great strides in technology and hospital care gave rise to the need for a larger facility. The hospital managing committee spearheaded the building of KVMH. Stocked with the latest of equipment, KVMH opened with private rooms equipped with toilet facilities, air conditioned surgeries, and wards. It was considered “state of the art” in those years. The original Waimea Hospital was transformed into the Waimea Dispensary.

In 1993, responding to our community’s needs, a new Medical Surgical Acute Care wing was built with capital improvement funding (CIP) and added on to the then current structure.

In 1996, Legislature created the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation to govern the community hospitals that were under the direction of the State of Hawaii, Department of Health, Division of Community Hospitals. Being part of the system has brought KVMH many benefits including teleradiography, telemedicine, video teleconferencing, and patient management information systems.

1996 also brought the opening of The Kawaiola Medical Office Building attached to KVMH. It was built with CIP funds secured by Representative Bertha Kawakami.

In 1999, the medical campus, now called West Kauai Medical Center, established primary care clinic services in the Kawaiola Building and at Eleele.

In 2001, KVMH was the first hospital in Hawaii to be designated a Critical Access Hospital (CAH) by the federal government ensuring rural communities access to needed medical services through federal cost reimbursement. It is also the only CAH hospital in Hawaii that is fully accredited by JCAHO -Joint Commission for Accreditation of Hospital Organizations.

That same year, Ho’ola Lahui Hawaii (HLH) opened discussions with KVMH regarding the establishment of a Federally Qualified Health Clinic on the West Kauai Medical Center campus. KVMH supported this concept and the resulting collaboration is a model for providing rural communities with a full continuum of care while operating efficiently and effectively through improved utilization of services and resources.

In April 2003, KVMH celebrated the remodeled obstetrics unit, which includes labor delivery recovery postpartum rooms, a new nursery and nursing station. This important renovation was supported by grant monies from the McInerny Foundation, Wilcox Foundation and the KVMH Charitable Foundation.

We deliver over 250 babies each year. Our signature “baby feet” decorating the waiting area walls tells you that you are in The Family Birth Center. 

In December 2004, the purchase of Kalaheo Clinic expanded primary care and clinic specialty services. Provider specialties currently include Pediatrics, Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Women’s Health, Obstetrics, Gynecology, and General Surgery. Visiting consultants include Cardiology, Nephrology and Podiatry.

Our clinic provider complement includes fifteen physicians and a Nurse Practitioner offering a continuum of care to address the expanding medical needs of our island community.

The hospital celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007.

In 2009, the Eleele Clinic re-opened as the Port Allen Clinic in a new, bigger location in Port Allen Marina Center providing space for more physicians and exams rooms to handle the growing number of patients choosing West Kauai Clinics for their healthcare needs.

In 2010, exciting new services for our Kauai community are now operational including Stress Testing, Extremity MRI, Digital Mammography, and Stereotactic Biopsy. These services provide fast, clear results for diagnosis and treatment of patients, minimizing travel and waiting time. The stereotactic biopsy, in most cases, can prevent the need for surgery to extract tissue samples. 

Our vision for West Kauai Medical Center is to continue serving the west side communities by providing quality health care and enhancing the “personal touch.”


The KVMH Charitable Foundation, formed in 1998, has a charter to support the major needs of the hospital. The Foundation raises funds for equipment, patient care, staff programs and education, a building renovation and expansion. The members of the Foundation obtain funds through grants, community events and individual donations. 

The foundation has hosted the Red Hat/Purple Dress fundraising gatherings and an Annual Golf Tournament for years. In 2007, the foundation planned our 50th Anniversary Celebration with the help of the Auxiliary – A Luau Under the Palms. 

The KVMH Auxiliary is very active in raising funds for patient equipment, services, and other hospital needs. It runs the KVMH Gift Shop. Each year their Holiday Craft Fair is a delight for the community, staff, residents, and visitors. 

Please help continue the tradition of West Kauai health care services!

Both the Auxiliary and Foundation are in search of energetic individuals who are interested in becoming members of these organizations and mobilizing their campaigns for the future. 

Contact us for more information on the KVMH Auxiliary and KVMH Charitable Foundation.