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Monday, June 19, 2017
June 19, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:16 PM :: 2279 Views

Democrats Vote to Allow Fukumoto In

Medicaid Expansion States Saw ER Visits Go Up, Uninsured ER Visits Go Down

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted June 19, 2017

Panos: Statewide Surface Transportation Challenges and Opportunities

Half of Hawaii Medicaid Funds Pay for Homeless Emergency Room Visits

PBN: …I come out here with an understanding of what it means to be homeless. I come out here with an understanding of what it means to be a drug addict. I come out here with an understanding of what it means to be an alcoholic. And because I have that understanding, I’m able to relate to people in a different way….

These homeless individuals represent some of the most difficult, chronic cases. Most all of them have untreated physical and mental health issues…..

You have depression, bipolar, psychosis?….

in order for a homeless person to qualify for certain housing programs, a doctor must diagnose a disability. But Phillips says many of the people out here can’t be relied on to make it to an appointment.

We know they’re not gonna go to a doctor, you know? ‘My main priority is getting a beer in my system, maybe some, you know, marijuana, maybe some ice. Wanna get loaded, get good and– you know, good and high. And then I’m ready to go do it.’ But by by that time, it’s 5:00 p.m., all the doctors are closed, all the doctors’ offices are closed, there’s no psychiatrists….

The top few diagnoses that we see are infectious disease, behavioral health, and substance abuse.

Many of Cheng’s homeless patients also suffer from heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease…

The homeless burden Cheng’s hospital with around 10 million dollars a year in unreimbursed medical bills. They also burden Medicaid, the government health insurance system for the poor. About 50% of Medicaid funds are spent on so-called high-utilizers – people like the homeless who frequently visit the ER…..

Cheng says he sees the same homeless patients over and over…..

Green says Medicaid should cover rent for the homeless. He cites a University of Hawaii study showing that after the homeless were given housing, their medical costs decreased by 43 percent…..

Over the last two years, the State and Honolulu have expanded Housing First by adding 400 new housing units – like this new building, opened last month. More than 500 hundred people will be housed by the end of this year. Advocates say Housing First has helped finally turn the tide….

Related: Mental Health: Can Reform Solve Hawaii’s Homeless, Prison and Unfunded Liability Problems?

read … After 8 years, Hawaii sees decline in homelessness rate

With Government out of the Way, Privatized Maui Hospital Hiring Hundreds, Investing Millions

SA: …Kaiser — both a health care provider and insurer — said it is committed to improving access to care in Maui County, so that patients have the ability to get care where they live instead of having to be transferred to Honolulu hospitals. It has also promised to keep the facilities open to the public, including non-Kaiser members and doctors, and operate as community hospitals, while significantly reducing the state’s burden to fund operating losses that have amounted to more than $30 million annually.

Hawaii’s largest health-maintenance organization is working to fill hundreds of positions left vacant during the recent uncertainty about the new ownership. The transfer of the hospitals was delayed for one year because of a series of setbacks, including lawsuits by employee union United Public Workers to stop the privatization because of existing collective bargaining contracts that run through June 30. A year ago, Maui hospital executives said the facilities had more than 400 vacancies. Many positions were left vacant in anticipation of the transfer, originally scheduled for July 1, 2016.

The HMO is recruiting trauma and orthopedic surgeons, critical care doctors and specialists including gastroenterologists and neurosurgeons, said Dr. David Ulin, chief medical director of Maui Health System, the operating company for the hospitals. “Recruiting on Maui is still very difficult,” Ulin said. “Maui has a shortage of about 100 plus doctors, about a 25 percent deficit in the amount of physicians we should have.”

The hospitals have relied on temporary or leased staff during the uncertainty of the privatization, but hired 35 new graduate registered nurses and nearly 30 RN graduates in 2016 to support the transition.

Kaiser also extended about 1,500 job offers to current hospital staff, 97 percent of whom have accepted the positions, said Jean Melnikoff, Kaiser’s vice president of human resources. “The hospitals in Maui and Lanai have a large number of vacant positions,” she said. “Several hundred positions we expect to be filling. Recruitment will be an ongoing process.”

Among the biggest changes patients will see is an integrated electronic medical records system intended to reduce duplication of tests and treatments to save time, money and resources. Kaiser said the electronic records system will help improve communication among health care providers, increase prevention efforts and reduce costly medical errors. The company said it also is investing in training programs to increase skills among staff and providers in the community.

In 2015, the state Legislature opened the way for a private operator to manage the Maui County hospitals, which were facing an uncertain future as operating costs continued to escalate…..

read … Kaiser spending $50M on Maui, Lanai hospitals

Put Everybody on Welfare: Omidyar, ACORN, and Richard Nixon All Agree—What Could Go Wrong?

CB: “Without a doubt, this could be the first in the country,” said Wade Rathke, a long-time organizer for the now-dissolved Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a collection of community groups that advocated for affordable housing and health care for low- and moderate income families. “It’d be amazing to see Hawaii look at this closely.”

When Rathke founded ACORN in 1970, the idea of a guaranteed income wasn’t only a liberal or progressive idea, Rathke said. Republican President Richard Nixon had proposed a guaranteed minimum income, eligible even to working persons. The idea of a minimum guaranteed income fell by the wayside in the Reagan era, Rathke said.

Lately, however, the idea has gained currency among corporate executives, labor leaders and policymakers, Lee said. Pierre Omidyar, the publisher of Honolulu Civil Beat, is financing a universal basic income pilot program in Kenya.

The Hawaii working group is to consist of officials from the departments of Labor and Industrial Relations; Business, Economic Development and Tourism; state House and Senate labor committee chairs; the director of the Department of Human Services; the executive director of the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization; and representatives of labor and business organizations.

The proposal has received support from both the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce and Unite HERE, Local 5, which represents hotel workers in Hawaii.

Paola Rodelas, a spokeswoman for Unite HERE, said the organization has been concerned for a while about issues like automation taking jobs. Also, she said, the proliferation of online rental agencies like Airbnb have hurt hotel workers by reducing demand for their services and by converting potential homes into illegal short-term rentals.

read … Should Hawaii Guarantee Every Resident A Minimum Income?

Hawaii County Moves to Shut Down Affordable Housing Development

WHT: After more than a quarter-century of false starts and litigation, all work at the South Kohala site has been ordered again stopped and Hawaii County has notified developer, Aina Lea Inc., it plans to start the county process of reverting the land’s zoning “to its original” (unplanned) or a “more appropriate designation.”

The action comes amid a flurry of litigation, including foreclosure proceedings. The company also disclosed in financial statements filed earlier this year that its sustained losses from the get-go and has doubts about its future.

However, the company’s chairman and CEO, Robert Wessels, says the development is moving forward and keeping its commitment to shareholders and the Big Island.

Hawaii County Planning Director Michael Yee recently notified Aina Lea Inc. to cease all work at the 3,000-acre South Kohala site after determining the developer is in violation of a 2013 3rd Circuit Court order and conditions the county imposed in rezoning the land to allow for The Villages at Aina Lea. The court ruling stated no work was to take place until a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, SEIS, is accepted by the county.

Aina Lea Inc., however, had already received permits to construct 12 townhouse units that were approved and consistent with land use approvals at the time of issuance. The county said it sent letters in 2014 and ‘15, after Aina Lea Inc. inquired about the permits, that it would honor those permits to proceed with infrastructure and related occupancy improvements related to the townhomes, with the understanding that the SEIS was being prepared.

A site inspection last August found work was taking place on the acreage.

County planners also recently confirmed that an SEIS is no longer being prepared prompting the county to notify in late May Aina Lea Inc. to cease work, said Department of Planning Deputy Director Daryn Arai.

No work appeared to be occurring this week when a West Hawaii Today photographer stopped at the site, which is inaccessible from Queen Kaahumanu Highway because of a locked gate…..

read … Legal fight deepens in long-planned Aina Lea development

Honolulu Ethics Needs ‘Complete Overhaul’ 

CB: The Ethics Commission chief says the city should “completely overhaul” how it tracks the spending of money to influence leaders. 

CB: Weak disclosure rules make it easy for lobbyists to conceal how much they are spending wining and dining city officials.

read … What Honolulu Lobbyists Don’t Tell You

Global Warming: UH Professors Say Everybody in Hawaii Will Burn to Death.  Soon.  Real soon.

SA: Three-quarters of the world’s inhabitants, including those living in Hawaii, will be exposed to deadly heat waves by the end of the century unless greenhouse gases are not substantially reduced, according to a study published today in Nature Climate Change.

And even if bold action is taken to curtail emissions, nearly half of the world’s population still faces living with the dangerous hot spells, with tropical regions feeling the worst of it, the study said.

“We’re left with a choice between bad and terrible,” said lead author Camilo Mora, a University of Hawaii professor…..

(Ahem …still offering Mora and his co-authors 10% of assessed value for their Hawaii real estate.  They could move somewhere safe like Alaska.  This is surely a better deal than they will get when the island is on fire from the warming.)

read … Lethal heat will grow common, climate change study predicts

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