Hawaii organ transplant facility funding approved 

A legislative conference committee wasted no time advancing a bill Monday that funds a kidney and liver transplant facility in Hawaii.

The state hasn't had a Medicare and Medicaid Services-certified organ transplant center since December, when Hawaii Medical Center closed its two Oahu Hospitals.

The legislature estimates more than 400 patients in Hawaii are on national organ transplant waiting lists and now have to register on waiting lists at mainland transplant centers.

House Bill 608 was introduced in 2011, but stalled in conference committee. That committee reconvened after Gov. Neil Abercrombie requested the bill be passed promptly as an emergency appropriation.

The full House and Senate will vote on the bill, which would give $1.5 million to the Queen's Medical Center and $300,000 to the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii.

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