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Sunday, June 8, 2014
June 8, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:19 PM :: 3748 Views

Report Exposes Scheme to Funnel Interior Department Money to Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement

What Happens in Vegas...Moves to Vegas

Dave Bateman Announces for House 5

Ige Goes Wobbly on GMOs

Bob Jones: State 'Tribe' is Only Realistic Outcome of OHA Roll

MW: The U.S. Interior Department may have just complicated the Hawaiian sovereignty/governance issue.

Washington is seeking acceptable words to define the U.S.-Hawaiian pre-annexation relationship as “tribal” but never with that word because it equates with “Indian” and that drives many batty here on the sovereignty side.

So this was issued on May 21: “The Secretary of the Interior is considering whether to propose an administrative rule that would facilitate the re-establishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community, to more effectively implement the special political and trust relationship that Congress has established between that community and the United States.”

In other words, not government-to-government, but government-to-”the Native Hawaiian community.” That means a Hawaiian “tribe,” presumably through OHA or some successor to it that comes out of the Hawaiian signatories convention to promote Hawaiian governance within (important word) our state government.

Realistically, that’s the most that’s going to happen. Congress and the state of Hawaii aren’t going to recognize a Kingdom of Hawaii, and no international body has the power or tools of enforcement to make them do so.

read ... Bob Jones

Akana: “Why do Hawaiians have to look like we’re such idiots?"

WHT: “Why do Hawaiians have to look like we’re such idiots, fighting with each other all the time?” asked an outwardly frustrated OHA Trustee Rowena Akana at a recent board meeting....

The May 20 notice from the U.S. Department of the Interior signals it’s considering whether the federal government should develop a formal, administrative process to re-establish a government-to-government relationship with a future Native Hawaiian governing entity. It has not yet opened the public comment period.

Crabbe and OHA Chairwoman Colette Machado, in a joint statement, praised the move.

“The OHA-supported nation building process and the federal government’s consideration of a federal recognition process present an opportunity for a seamless transition from nation building to pursuing federal recognition, but only if that represents the desire of the Native Hawaiian people,” the statement said.

Not everyone is sure they want the type of federal recognition currently in place for Native Americans, where land is allotted for reservations where tribal laws apply.

Native Hawaiians in the top layers of Hawaii County’s government are taking a wait-and-see approach.

Both Mayor Billy Kenoi, and Kona Councilman Dru Kanuha, said they’ve signed the newest Native Hawaiian roll, but they are not involving themselves in the current roll-building process.

read ... Native Hawaiians ponder the pathways

Commenters Mock Kauai Professional Protesters

Best Comment: To learn exactly how Kauai functions, go to the link below. South Park did a perfect show on the backwards dysfunction so prevalent on Kauai. http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s16e11-going-native

read ... The Rest of the Comments, too

Abercrombie Hopes Nobody Reading CoR Report

Borreca: According to a report in Kauai's newspaper, The Garden Island, Abercrombie asked, "How many of you here have read the latest Council of Revenues report?"...

"Don't feel bad," he said, adding that no one in the state has read the report -- "except me."...

if Abercrombie read the whole report (http://goo.gl/BBJ7hi) to his audience, they might not think this is the best of all economies.

Earlier this year, the council blew up the state's revenue projections by lowering the tax growth rate from 3.3 percent to zero.

Then, in May, the council lowered its projection again, saying instead of zero, it would be minus 0.4 percent.

"The members expressed much uncertainty about the economy," the report said....

What is interesting for the 2014 races of both Abercrombie and former GOP Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona is that both national governors' groups have indicated they will spend money in the Hawaii election.

read ... COR Dings Abercrombie

Abercrombie, Developers Join Private Celebration as Ground broken on first of 22 Ward Center residential towers

SA: The Howard Hughes Corp. executives, Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell broke ground Saturday morning on the first of two luxury high-rise residential towers in Kakaako with a small amount of retail space.

The public was not invited to the groundbreaking event for Waiea, the 36-story luxury residential tower which will spring up in the next 28 months at the former parking lot makai of Ward Centers' theater complex. It's the first of 22 condominium towers envisioned for development around Ward Centers.

Only 30 percent of the units remain available, according to data from Howard Hughes.

read ... Abercrombie's Kakaako

Shapiro: Mufi's Rail Push Now Costing Millions

Shapiro: ...he gave a hint when he said, "The process that we did rail by is the same process that I believe can be implemented for the Superferry."

Apparently, it hasn't sunk in that voter unhappiness with his heavy-handed "process" on the $5.26 billion Oahu rail project was a major reason for his 21.6 percentage-point loss to Gov. Neil Abercrombie in the 2010 Democratic primary.

Hannemann said he'd pursue the Superferry more patiently than the state did the last time around, but patience was hardly a hallmark of his push for rail on a hurried schedule geared to his ambitions for higher office.

The city is now paying tens of millions for rail delays and change orders resulting from court-ordered remediation of city lapses on burial surveys and environmental reviews, as well as Hannemann's much-criticized rush to sign construction contracts years before the city was ready to build.

Voters also will remember the short-lived commuter ferry Hannemann ran between Kalaeloa and Aloha Tower that was shelved when it ended up costing taxpayers about $120 per round trip.

With the Superferry, it's unlikely that private investors would step forward again after the previous group watched its $300 million ante swirl down the toilet in Hawaii's capricious political, legal and regulatory environment.

read ... More of the same

Hawaii Food Stamp Use up 210% since 2007

HTH: Unemployment might be inching downward and construction and other markets showing signs of life. But the number of people lining up to receive state supplements for food purchases just keeps increasing.

Food stamp use has marched steadily upward in Hawaii County and around the state, bolstered by outreach campaigns to increase enrollment. In 2013, more than 187,000 people were on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, up from 88,848 in 2007, when the recession began. 

(187,000/88,848 = 210%)

Some 47,700 of those people are here on the Big Island.

read ... Food stamp use marching upward

Ban on food-grade foam containers Shut Down Local Manufacturers

SA: » Food-grade polystyrene food containers meet stringent FDA standards for use in food packaging and are proven safe for consumers.

» Health organizations encourage the use of single-use foodservice products, including polystyrene, because they provide increased food safety.

» Polystyrene packaging is an economical option that performs well with keeping cold foods cold and warm foods warm, which minimizes food-borne illness. Improper storage of food temperature-wise is the No. 1 cause of food-borne illness.

Restaurants and other foodservice businesses -- from food trucks to small mom-and-pop restaurants -- operate on razor-thin profit margins.

Cost in addition to function is always a consideration. Food-grade polystyrene food containers are generally two to three times less expensive than disposable paperboard products and reusable foodservice items....

Kamaaina, family-run businesses manufacture and are one of many distributors of food-grade foam products in Hawaii.

Local manufacturing shrinks the carbon footprint by nine 20-foot containers of imported finished product through the use of one container of 40,000 resin beads. This takes far less raw resources than compostable products made of paper or other plant material, which require electricity and water for processing and must be shipped to Hawaii, often from Asia.

Oahu is fortunate to have H-Power, where all combustible trash is diverted from the landfill to H-Power and is converted into electricity for about 50,000 households. Foam products are a good addition to the combustible trash mix because it burns at 18 BTU, since it is made of 92 percent air, compared to other trash that burn at less than 14 BTU.

Since Hawaii has no commercial composting facility to collect and process compostable material, even these higher priced compostable products will end up at H-Power.

read ... Stop Harassing the People

Call for leadership change at DOE ignores progress that's been made

SA: ...Our blueprint for staff and student success was rewarded with a $75 million Race to the Top grant, which served as a key catalyst for systemwide improvement.

Soon after, the DOE and the state Board of Education, for the first time, created a joint Strategic Plan, making student achievement its core.

We also replaced NCLB's top-down accountability model with a system developed from the bottom-up -- by Hawaii educators, parents and the community -- to serve the needs of our island students.

Aligned to our Strategic Plan goals, the new Strive HI Performance System measures not just test scores but also student growth, readiness, graduation rates and absenteeism, among other meaningful factors that paint a true picture of a school's health and ensure every child and educator are supported....

SA: Don't delay school-level empowerment

read ... Progress

Failure of HHSC Reform Brings Health care hardships

KGI: Under a current cost-reduction proposal being considered by Kauai officials from HHSC, the state’s public health care system, the Kalaheo Clinic’s doors will be closed and services provided there will be consolidated with another clinic about four miles away in Port Allen.

It is a move that, officials say, could save the region at least $300,000 just in lease payments alone....

The state public health care system’s Kauai region, McFarland said, is considering the closure, along with other cost-saving measures, to offset a projected $11 million shortfall for the upcoming 2014-2015 fiscal year, which begins on July 1 — a fraction of the $48 million shortfall affecting the entire statewide corporation.

Some progress, however, has been made.

HHSC’s Kauai region, McFarland said, had the two best performance months in April and May, as far as collecting payments, in about four or five years. This has resulted in about $1 million that the region will be able to carry over into the 2015 fiscal year....

“You have to see such a high volume or a high number of patients every day to even pay the rent, keep the lights on and pay entire medical teams a modest salary,” McFarland said. “I get the economics very acutely, and medical practices, in terms of primary care, have to see in excess of 35 to 37 patients a day to really hit the numbers, because some times the encounter you have, based on the reimbursement we get from insurance companies, will bring in only about $12 to $18.”

(But its all worth it to keep HGEA and UPW.)

read ... Health care hardships

SB2365: Impact of doctor-dispensed drugs on comp costs drives new legislative efforts

IN: A renewed focus on how physician-dispensed prescription drugs affect workers compensation claims outcomes is driving legislation that would restrict the costly practice.

The workers comp industry has much at stake as more states move legislation, because an industry survey last year showed that physician dispensing of marked-up repackaged drugs was the second-biggest problem in workers comp pharmacy management.

Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland and Pennsylvania are among states that are moving or have recently passed bills to cap the price of repackaged medications, limit physician dispensing, or ban the practice entirely.

With some doctors charging 300% more than what retail pharmacies charge for the same medications, the argument against repackaging historically has been about cost, experts say. And the same workers comp industry survey last year showed that prescriptions doctors dispensed directly to injured workers totaled slightly more than a third of total workers comp drug costs....

In Hawaii, Senate Bill 2365 would limit the reimbursement payments of repackaged, relabeled and compound prescription drugs. The bill has been sent to Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie for signing....

Studies that show the effect of drug repackaging on comp claims are guiding some of the recent discussion, experts say.

For instance, the 2013 “Prescription Drug Management in Workers' Compensation” survey by CompPharma L.L.C. showed that physician dispensing accounted for more than 35% of drug costs in 2012. While CompPharma survey respondents said opioid use was the biggest problem they face in workers comp pharmacy management, physician dispensing of marked-up repackaged drugs was a close second.

Claimants who use repackaged drugs typically are out of work longer and have more medical expenses, said Jeffrey Austin White, director of medical management practices and strategy corporate claims at Accident Fund Holdings Inc. in Lansing, Michigan.

Mr. White co-authored “The Effect of Physician Dispensed Medication on Workers' Compensation Claim Outcomes in the State of Illinois,” a study released in May, on the effect of physician-dispensed medications on workers comp claim outcomes in Illinois. Injured workers are less likely to fill prescriptions they don't need if they go to a pharmacy, Mr. White said. He added that data shows injured workers receive three times the amount of drugs when prescriptions are dispensed by doctors instead of pharmacies.

Doctors aren't the only source of repackaged drugs, sources say. There has been a recent influx of nurse practitioners and physician assistants writing opioid prescriptions for injured workers, according to the “2014 Drug Trend Report” by Progressive Medical and PMSI.

Claims for prescriptions written by nurse practitioners have an 8% higher long-term pharmacy cost than those written by other medical professionals, the study said.

2012: Oxycontin Contributions: Clayton Hee, Josh Green, Karl Rhoads and HB466

read ... Pill Mills

Kauai: Sex Harassment is Profitable

KGI: Officer Darla Abbatiello-Higa, a 29-year veteran of the Kauai Police Department, alleges her supervisors filed a complaint against her in retaliation for her underlying EEOC case against Assistant Chief Quibilan regarding a sexual harassment claim in 2012....

In 2006, the county settled a lawsuit with Abbatiello-Higa for $980,000. She alleged harassment and demotions while she was protected under the federal Whistleblower Protection Act. (Then, 6 years later,) In January 2012, assistant chiefs Ale Quibilan and Roy Asher were placed on leave for what was called a hostile work environment complaint.

read ... $980,000 / 6 = $163K per year

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