The state Department of Health’s Maui District Health Office is actively responding to the Maui wildfires, providing updates on various services to support the affected community. These services include behavioral health support, emergency prescription assistance, unsafe water advisories, and the prevention of respiratory and vector-borne diseases. The Department is grateful for the support of volunteers and community partnerships, and they have established a call center to connect residents with medical and mental health services. Additionally, they are working closely with community partners to address the behavioral health impact, provide wellness support, and ensure access to comprehensive and culturally sensitive care. The Lahaina Comprehensive Health Center is offering medical, pharmacy, and behavioral health services for free. The Department is committed to providing long-term support throughout the recovery process and is collaborating with various organizations to meet the mental health needs of the community.
DOH continues response to Maui wildfires
The state Department of Health’s Maui District Health Office is actively involved in responding to the Maui wildfires. Along with local partners, the department is providing updates and taking necessary measures to address the behavioral health impact of the wildfires, offer medical services, ensure access to prescriptions, issue unsafe water advisories, and prevent respiratory and vector-borne diseases. The department is grateful for the support from volunteers and community partnerships in assisting the Lahaina wildfire survivors.
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Behavioral Health Response
DOH is collaborating with community partners to address the behavioral health impact of the Maui wildfires. The department aims to provide both immediate and long-term behavioral health services on Maui. As part of this effort, local behavioral health clinicians have been hired to provide support to the affected residents. These clinicians will be present on the island for several months. Additionally, DOH has established telepsychiatry capability for those who prefer remote consultations. The US Department of Health and Human Services has allocated four federal behavioral health providers to assist on Maui, and DOH is actively seeking more resources. The department understands the severe and long-lasting impacts of the wildfires on behavioral health and aims to ensure comprehensive and culturally sensitive support for Maui residents.
To further support the community, DOH, in collaboration with community health partners, has launched the Wellness Navigator program. Wellness navigators visit impacted residents currently residing at local hotels, providing them with essential items, information about available health services, and connecting them with appropriate mental health support if needed. The program commenced on August 24 and is being carried out with the help of donated carts provided by Hawaiian Airlines. In addition, DOH is offering crisis mental health services to Maui residents who are not sheltering at local hotels. No appointment is necessary, and insurance is not required for accessing these services.
Medical Services at Lahaina Comprehensive Health Center
Lahaina Comprehensive Health Center, operated by DOH, continues to provide a range of medical services to the affected individuals. These services include general medical care, pharmacy services, behavioral health services, and eye care. All individuals, regardless of insurance coverage, are welcome to receive these services. The health center is located at Ākoakoa Place, below the Lahaina Civic Center and also offers mobile visits to neighborhoods from Leialiʻi to Honokohau Valley. The clinic operates daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in August 2023 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in September 2023.
Additionally, a satellite clinic has been set up at Kāʻanapali Beach Resort (Outrigger) in partnership with The Queen’s Medical Center, American Medical Response, and other partners. The satellite clinic operates from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, with after-hours on-call services available.
Additional Locations for In-Person Behavioral Health Visits
Apart from Lahaina Comprehensive Health Center, individuals can access in-person behavioral health visits at Maui Community Mental Health Clinic. The clinic is located at 121 Mahalani St., Wailuku, and operates from Monday to Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, individuals can call 808-984-2150 or email email@example.com.
The Hawaiʻi CARES Crisis Line is another resource available 24/7 for individuals in need of mental health support. The crisis line can be reached by calling or texting 988 or visiting hicares.hawaii.gov.
DOH remains committed to providing long-term support throughout the recovery and rebuilding process. This includes initiatives such as creating Peer Support Groups, increasing access to telehealth services as communication is restored, adding additional hotlines for crisis support, and providing more opportunities for group therapy. DOH is collaborating with various community partners, including Hui No Ke Ola Pono, Mālama I Ke Ola, Aloha House, FEMA, Hawai‘i Pacific Health, Kaiser Permanente Hawai‘i, The Queen’s Health System, Hawaiian Airlines, the State Office of Wellness and Resilience, the American Red Cross, Federal Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and volunteers to address the emergent mental health needs of the community.
Emergency Prescription Assistance Program
The US Department of Health and Human Services provides an Emergency Prescription Assistance Program (EPAP) for uninsured Maui residents impacted by the wildfires. EPAP helps eligible residents obtain the necessary prescription drugs and medical equipment. Uninsured residents can call the EPAP toll-free hotline at 1-855-793-7470 to verify eligibility and register. After registration, individuals need to obtain a valid prescription from a healthcare provider and fill it at a pharmacy enrolled in EPAP. Prescriptions can be renewed every 30 days as long as the program is active. More information about EPAP is available at aspr.hhs.gov/EPAP.
Unsafe Water Advisories
DOH and the US Environmental Protection Agency are providing technical support to the Maui Department of Water Supply, which has issued Unsafe Water Advisories for Lahaina and Upper Kula. Residents of these areas are advised not to drink or boil tap water, as it may pose a health risk even when boiled. Bottled water should be used for all drinking, teeth brushing, ice making, and food preparation. Updates on Unsafe Water Advisories can be found on the County of Maui’s website at mauicounty.gov/water.
Preventing Respiratory and Vector-Borne Diseases
DOH emphasizes the importance of preventing respiratory diseases, especially in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 cases have been increasing statewide, including on Maui. DOH recommends that all residents stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, wear masks, and practice good hand hygiene. More information about COVID-19 vaccines can be found at vaccines.gov/search. In addition, DOH and its partners are making COVID-19 vaccines available at Lahaina Comprehensive Health Clinic.
DOH is also monitoring for vector-borne diseases, which can become more prevalent in areas affected by disasters due to debris accumulation. While no confirmed cases have been reported yet, DOH is collaborating with federal, state, and county agencies to clear debris and mitigate the risk of vector-borne diseases. Clearing brush and trash near homes and using insect repellent before flea exposure helps prevent diseases like murine typhus, which is endemic in Hawai‘i. Debris and standing water create conditions favorable for mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever. Vector control activities and debris removal efforts are underway to prevent the emergence of these conditions.
For ongoing updates and information from DOH, visit health.hawaii.gov/mauiwildfires.