Nestled in 17 acres of land with ocean-front views on O‘ahu’s west side is Wi‘anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center. There, residents from all walks of life may find a broad spectrum of services to suit their health care needs. In fact, with everything from ’round-the-clock emergency, lab and radiology staﬀto dentists, specialists, preventative health programs and much more, it’s no wonder that WCCHC is the largest nonprofit service provider in the state.
It began humbly in 1972, with one doctor and a staﬀof only five. Today, WCCHC employs more than 600 people and receives roughly 210,000 clinical visits each year. It also includes several satellite locations in Wai‘anae, Kapolei, Waipahu and Nanakuli, in addition to its main campus.
The way it works is simple: No one gets turned away at the federally qualified health center.
“We serve everybody, regardless of their ability to pay,” says CEO Richard Bettini, who has been with the organization for more than 30 years.
Of course, those who can aﬀord it and have health insurance must pay. WCCHC receives only about 6 percent of its funding from a federal grant, while another five percent from the state supports its emergency room services. The bulk of funding for all that WCCHC oﬀers, meanwhile, comes from donations or billing from insurance companies.
But if a person simply does not have the means to pay, WCCHC provides it s services anyway free of charge on a sliding scale.
“The idea [is] that we treat everybody the same regardless of your financial status, but we also recognize that we need to leverage whatever public money we get with having … responsible business systems,” says Bettini.
Its mission, he admits, has evolved throughout the years to encompass three key points. First, says Bettini, WCCHC concerns itself with treating the whole patient by providing accessible primary care to everyone. Next, with such a large number of employees, the organization also sees itself as an economic stimulator of sorts for the area. WCCHC currently has a variety of training programs via its Wai‘anae Health Academy, for example, that oﬀers everything from nurse residency programs to post-doctorate training for psychologists.
“The whole idea is to create a career ladder and get people employed in professions for which there’s jobs in our community,” says Bettini.