Community First has formed a Regional Health Improvement Collaborative or RHIC.


The membership is composed of business and community leaders in a position to make real, positive healthcare changes in East Hawai‘i.

Our Vision

The RHIC provides a neutral forum for the community to work together in addressing the issues and opportunities affecting health, healthcare services, and healthcare costs in “win-win-win” ways.  Win-win-win solutions benefit community residents, employers, and health care providers while creating a more sustainable healthcare system.

Our Projects


Best Heart Care Initiative


Locally and nationally the treatment of patients with chronic diseases accounts for a significant portion of healthcare costs.


By designing the best care within a community for a particular condition and redesigning, if necessary, payments to support that care, we believe we can systematically achieve greater quality at lower costs.  



Recruiting and Retaining Physcians


According to the Hawai’i Physician’s Workforce Assessment there is a 20% shortage of full-time physicians in Hawai’i. And of the 2,806 full time equivalents (FTEs) in practice statewide, 711 are age 65 or older.


East Hawai’i is projected to have to worst Primary Care Physician shortage of any region in Hawai’i. It is especially difficult to recruit physicians into rural areas. Community First has adopted a two-pronged approach to this challenge.


There are over 30 RHICs in the United States currently, with more being established.   Stakeholders acknowledge that sustainability in healthcare can only be achieved through structural changes requiring collaboration not only among providers and health plans but also employers and the general community.  

Steering Committee

The members of the RHIC Steering Committee are exceptionally suited to represent their respective entities, and to provide leadership and support for the project.   They are: 

  • Community Leader, Barry Taniguchi (Chair)

  • Community First Executive Director, Dr. Mike Sayama

  • EHI IPA President, Dr. Lynda Dolan

  • Hilo Medical Center CEO, Dan Brinkman

  • Hilo Medical Center Board Chair;  EHI IPA, Dr. Daniel Belcher

  • Hilo Medical Center Foundation Executive Director, Lisa Rantz

  • Private Employer, Toby Taniguchi

  • Public Employer, Randy Kurohara

  • HMSA Executive Vice President & Chief Health Officer, Dr. Mark Mugiishi

  • HMSA Senior Vice President Chief Communications & Community Engagement Officer, Elisa Yadao

  • HMSA Vice President Provider Services & Contracting, Rudy Marilla

  • UHA Contracting Services Manager, Michael Terry

  • AlohaCare Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Gary Okamoto

  • AlohaCare Director of Public Policy, Paula Arcena

  • Kanoelehua Industrial Area Association Vice President, Jerel Yamamoto

  • Bay Clinic Board Chair, Alan Okinaka

  • Bay Clinic CEO, Harold Wallace

  • Hawaiʻi Care Choices CEO, Brenda S. Ho

  • Community Representatives, Karen Maedo and Doug Adams