History of Mahelona Medical Center

1917 to Present

Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital (SMMH) was one of the first hospitals on Kauai. Founded in 1917 by the Planter’s Association, it was designed as a memorial to Samuel Mahelona, son of Emma Kauikeolani Napoleon Mahelona Wilcox, wife of Albert Wilcox. Samuel Mahelona died of tuberculosis at a young age. Samuel MahelonaThe hospital was designed to serve tuberculosis patients on Kauai.

Additional buildings were added over the years to accommodate increasing numbers of patients and services. SMMH changed in the early 1950’s and 1960’s, when antibiotics established the cure of tuberculosis.

The facility began focusing on long term care needs and began admitting patients with acute mental illness. A separate psychiatric unit was opened in 1983. The enduring quality of family centered care translated into psychiatric care, long-term care, and ancillary services.

In 1996, the center became part of Kauai Region of Hawaii Health Systems Corporation. Being part of the system has brought SMMH many benefits including teleradiography, telemedicine, video teleconferencing, and patient management information systems. The Kauai Region includes Mahelona Medical Center (Kapaa), West Kauai Medical Center (Waimea), and the West Kauai Clinics (Kalaheo, Eleele, and Waimea).

In 2004, the eastside Kauai Community Health Clinic, a Federally Qualified Health Clinic, was rented facilities on the campus to assist in serving primary care medical and dental needs of the uninsured and underinsured of the community.

In 2006, Mahelona Medical Center continued to change to meet the needs of the community. In December 2005, Mahelona became East Kauai’s Critical Access Hospital and opened 24 hour Emergency Services and 5 acute care beds. In 2008, over 5,000 patients were cared for by the Emergency department. Patients love the fast, friendly, family centered service conveniently located at the north end of Kapaa.

SMMH’s hospital based physician, Dr. Bridget Collins, cares for patients throughout their hospital stay. She is board certified in Family Medicine and a graduate of Texas Tech University of Health Sciences School of Medicine and the Methodist Hospitals of Dallas residency program.

The vision for the Mahelona campus is to become a Geriatric Center of Excellence – a ‘wellness center’ with particular emphasis on issues of aging. Programs and facilities such as exercise, spa treatments, nutrition, massage and other complementary therapies, assisted living, and more. State of the art diagnostic and treatment technologies will continue to expand and be enhanced to provide the best of care to our community family.

Aloha In Action Every Day at SMMH

Hawaiian Airlines selected Mahelona Medical Center to receive their ‘Aloha Spirit Award’ in 2014 for their demonstrated commitment and compassion in keeping our patient residents a vital part of life in the Kauai community. Breast cancer awareness walks, beach outings, holiday bell ringing, parade participation, visiting artist concerts, and so much more!


The SMMH Auxiliary is very active in raising funds for patient equipment, services, and other hospital needs. It runs the SMMH Thrift Shop. Each year their Country Store is a delight for the community, staff, residents, and visitors.

The SMMH Charitable Foundation formed in 1998 has a charter to raise funds for larger capital hospital needs. It has hosted the Holiday Sing-a-Long and other fundraising community activities..

Please help continue the tradition (ho’omau) of East Kauai 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 SMMH Auxiliary and SMMH Charitable Foundation.