Abercrombie Administration Cuts off Quadriplegic’s Medicaid—Until Media Finds Out
HNN: The sister of a quadriplegic, bed-ridden man is accusing the state of bureaucratic inflexibility after his Medicaid benefits were terminated without warning.
Katherine O'Connor visited her brother Brian Burke Friday morning at The Convalescent Center of Honolulu in Liliha.
Burke has Lou Gehrig's disease, also known as ALS, and he's on a ventilator.
"He's totally bed-bound, but his mind is still functioning perfectly," O'Connor said.
And as of July 1, he lost his Medicaid coverage.
"There's certain agencies that won't allow their mail to be forwarded and apparently, the Department of Human Services is one of them. So the application went back to them and they closed the case," O'Connor said.
Department of Human Services Director Pat McManaman said, "In exchange for free, comprehensive medical coverage, we ask people to keep us informed of their address changes within ten days." O'Connor said she did not notify DHS of her PO box closure.
The state of Hawaii benefits office, which oversees Medicaid benefits for 285,000 people in Hawaii, cannot check on everyone who has failed to file proper paperwork, McManaman said.
"Our staff was reduced by 50 percent in 2009, so we can't make individual phone calls, McManaman said.
O'Connor filed all the paperwork to re-start her brother's Medicaid coverage and his doctor has made a request for emergency processing to speed up approvals that could take two months.
"He's in a very fragile state and he's on a ventilator, he needs oxygen. The nursing home needs to be paid. He could need medications," she said.
Shortly after she spoke with Hawaii News Now Friday, O'Connor received good news from the Department of Human Services, where an official told her they would reinstate her brother's Medicaid coverage in the next two business days. That means by Wednesday, he should be covered once again.
Abercrombie’s Plan to pay for Obamacare:
Carlisle earns endorsement from Duke Aiona’s Veterans in Politics
SA: Carlisle was the only one of the candidates to accept an invitation to appear before a panel of the Hawaii chapter.
“If the others weren’t interested in our endorsement, that’s fine,” said Dennis Egge, Hawaii chapter president.
The panel, which met last week at Fleet Reserve Association Branch 46 Headquarters, included Egge, former GOP Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona, members Calvin Griffin and Tom Ocasek and Nick Starling, VIPI chief executive officer.
“We felt his answers inspired us to think that he was really serious about the veterans in the community,” Egge said Friday. “Especially for the ones that are homeless and they’re having a bad time some of them — he wants to help them and I really believe that he will work to improve their quality of life.”
In addition to Hawaii, VIPI has chapters in Florida, New York, California, Texas, Missouri and American Samoa, said Steve Sanson, the organization’s president.
Fire-EMS Merger Contract Awarded After Honolulu Official Manipulated Score
CB: Documents provided to Civil Beat shortly after 5 p.m. Friday show one of the three city officials tasked with choosing a consultant to evaluate the merits of merging the Honolulu Fire Department with the Emergency Services Department manipulated his scores after the fact. Human Resources Department attorney Paul Au lowered his grade for a company that initially appeared to have won a $175,000 contract, instead awarding it to another organization with ties to the Fire Department and its chief...
The scoresheets, embedded below, show that Au gave Ralph Anderson and Associates 39 points on June 18, 2010. Four days later, he bumped that company's grade down to 36 points, giving Emergency Services Consulting International just enough to win.
The procurement process is the subject of an Ethics Commission probe focusing on the connections between the Fire Department and Chief Kenneth Silva and ESCI and its parent company, the International Association of Fire Chiefs. Silva serves on the IAFC board.
City Promises No Additional Cost for Rail Authority, but Oahu Taxpayers Now Fund Agency at $22 Million Annually
HR: Question: Will this (a public transit authority to govern the activities of the Honolulu Rail Transit Project) cost more money?
"Answer: No, there would be no additional cost to create the transit authority as it utilizes existing staff and facilities. Members of the transit authority’s board of directors would be volunteers.” – 2010 flier ‘General Election Public Transit Authority Charter Amendment Question’ produced by the City & County of Honolulu
Pro-Rail Candidates Predominate in Council Races
SA: The four members who aren't up for election this year — Martin, Stanley Chang, Tulsi Gabbard and Breene Harimoto — are all consistent votes in support of the Honolulu rail project, even though Gabbard has raised concerns about cost in recent months.
Combine those votes with the overwhelming support for the system among candidates and it becomes clear that the City Council will continue to push rail forward. If Ben Cayetano is elected mayor, he'll have few allies on the council when he moves to kill the project, and if either Mayor Peter Carlisle or Kirk Caldwell prevail, they can count on support.
Only District 1 incumbent Tom Berg, his 19-year-old challenger E.J. Delacruz and District 5 incumbent Ann Kobayashi oppose rail, and Kobayashi's answer was more ambiguous ("The City should proceed cautiously") than you might suggest. District 3 challenger Chad Kaukani said he'd look at other technologies "if rail can be stopped."
HART Gets New Offices, Council Suffers With Rats, Mold, Asbestos
CB: Honolulu City Council Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi said the council authorized $14 million several years ago to remove dangerous Asbestos and mold.
While the various mayors, who have often clashed with the council, have refurbished their own office and administrative sections, the council has been left to work in offices with moldy, faded rugs, crumbling wall paper, cramped quarters and potentially dangerous levels of Asbestos and mold.
"That is one way to get rid of us slowly," joked Kobayashi about the various mayoral administrations that she's clashed with over budgetary issues.
"We cannot change our carpeting, because underneath there is Asbestos, so we have to keep it that way. We cannot take our wall paper off for the same reason. Do you know how long that stuff has been there?" Kobayashi asked. "We want this safe for the public, not just ourselves and the staff."
Throughout the years, the council has also reported a rat infestation problem at city hall, which naturally garnered jokes from the public about politicians.
Big Brother: Health Exchange to Control Your Medical Records
Zunin: The Hawaii Health Information Exchange was designated by the state in 2009 to develop and implement the exchange for Hawaii. Its purpose is to help the state achieve its goal of transforming Hawaii's health care system into one that coordinates care for better outcomes, lower costs and improved patient and provider satisfaction.
Electronic health records play a critical role in efforts to transform health care delivery in Hawaii.
Physicians who have electronic health records will be able to electronically exchange patient information via the state health information exchange with other health care providers, with the idea that it will significantly reduce errors and duplicative procedures, and ultimately result in better care for patients. The state health information exchange will be a network that enables the flow of electronic health information among physicians, hospitals, labs, radiology centers and other health care institutions.
Hirono Wants to Be 1% of a Brain
Shapiro: U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye praised retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka for agreeing with him 99 percent of the time and said his shoes will be impossible to fill. It'll be easier to fill the 1 percent of a mind Inouye allows his junior partners to keep for themselves; Mazie Hirono is waving her arms and yelling, "Me, me, me!"
After months of resisting, Hirono agreed to a statewide televised Senate debate with Democratic rival Ed Case. Apparently, her polling showed that "cluck cluck" wasn't a viable campaign message.
Jones Act Unions Back Hannemann
SA: Endorsements were announced Friday by the Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association, Marine Firemen's Union, Sailors' Union of the Pacific and the Seafarers International Union of North America, Hannemann's campaign said in a news release.
"Mufi Hannemann has shown a deep understanding of the economic challenges facing the maritime industry," Luke Kaili of the Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association said in a statement. "In Washington, D.C., he will be a leader for creating and preserving high-quality American jobs and will be an effective advocate for our members and their families."
Kam Schools Names Three Trustee Nominees
PBN: A screening committee for Kamehameha Schools has named three finalists — Anton C. Krucky, Robert Kaleookalani Witt Nobriga and T. Aulani Wilhelm — to fill the trustee position vacated by Chairman J. Douglas Ing, whose term ended in June, according to Probate Court documents obtained by PBN.
Krucky is the co-founder, president and CEO of Tissue Genesis Inc ., a Honolulu-based tissue engineering and cell therapy solutions company.
Wilhelm, a Kamehameha Schools graduate, is the superintendent for the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.
Nobriga, also a Kamehameha Schools alum, is executive vice president and chief financial officer for Hawaii National Bank….
Star-Adv Calls for Three Vetoes
House Bill 280, involving the certification of Kona coffee.
Senate Bill 2424 seeks to regulate the growing professional employee organization sector
House Bill 46 would ban smoking in Hawaii's public housing complexes, virtually anywhere except 20 feet away from any building.
No Special Session Planned at Hawaii Legislature for Veto Override
HR: Their July 6 letter said: "We do not plan to convene Senate or House in special session on Tuesday, July 10, to override the veto of any bill by the Governor. This decision has been reached after review of the Governor's list of potential vetoes, discussion separately among Senate and House majority leaderships, and input from other Senate and House members."
After reviewing 340 measures, the governor's office sent notice to the legislature that he may veto 19 bills. (See all 19 bills here).
The governor has until Tuesday to announce his vetoes.
‘Green’ Energy: MECO’s monthly metering fee continues to increase
MN: Maui Electric Co.'s net energy metering monthly minimum fee, which started out in March 2010 at $8.56, has risen to $18.29 as of June 2012; an increase of more than 213 percent in just over two years. Think about where we'll be in another two years.
Nimble MMMC Exempt from State Procurement Code?
MN: Randy Vitousek, representing Lo and Hawaii Health Systems Corp., argued that the physicians with Maui Radiology Associates have no legal basis to challenge the award of the contract to RadCare because the Legislature set up the state's public hospital system to give administrators autonomy to manage procurement, to upgrade facilities and to control costs.
Lawmakers granted public hospital administrators "very broad powers" to manage their facilities, he said. They wanted hospital administrators to be "nimble" and flexible in providing quality health care to residents….
One Progressive Activst Moves into Public Housing, Immediately Wins Passage of Law to ban Smoking Indoors
SA: House Bill 46 (aka HB 46 HD2 SD2) prohibits smoking in individual apartments, indoor common areas and within 20 feet of each building….
Monk Seals: NOAA Releases Propaganda Sheet in Push to Grab Control of Hawaiian Waters, Shorelines
NOAA: Myth: Seals eat too much of the fish targeted by fishermen. This poses a problem if the MHI seal population grows or if seals are translocated from the NWHI to the MHI.
Fact: Considering what science tells us about monk seal foraging, the overall impact of seals on fishing in Hawai'i (recreational, subsistence, and commercial) is small.
Isle troops deploy Army Guard to spend 10 months in Kosovo
SA: Staff Sgt. Rose Madarang, 27, a 2002 Waipahu High graduate and administrative noncommissioned officer for the unit, said she's excited about going to Kosovo because it's different, and she hopes to get some college credits online during the deployment.
Warren Nakama was at the ceremony with other relatives for his son, Pfc. Nyles Nakama, 25, a helicopter mechanic. His son has been in the Army Guard for two years and is making his first deployment, he said.
"It should be a good experience for him. I've seen my son grow up," Warren Nakama said.
New changes planned for site of former Japanese internment camp
KHON: The governor approved a bill Friday that would help answer questions about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II….
At the time there were about 150,000 Japanese Americans in Hawaii. Questions remain as to the reasoning behind who was sent to the prison camps.
"Why would somebody on one side of the street was asked just some questions about their family whereas the gentleman on the other side of the street was placed into custody," said Paul DuPrey with the National Parks Service.
The National Parks Service and the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii are looking into developing Honouliuli as an educational resource center.
Hawaiian Ocean View Estates water well dedicated
BIVN: The Hawaiian Ocean View Estates water well, the long awaited, $6 million project in the remote Ka’u subdivision, is now providing residents with water.
A special dedication ceremony was held a 9:00 in the morning on Thursday, July 5th. Residents lined up with plastic water jugs in hand, ready to fill them up….
The Dirty Dozen: The State of Honolulu's Public Restrooms
CB: What comes to mind when you think of Honolulu’s public restrooms? Chances are, your answer might merit some self-censorship.
Civil Beat toured public restrooms from Ala Moana to Waimanalo — we'll call them the “dirty dozen” — to see what users, from near and far, had to say about them. Their answers weren’t pretty.
Damien's service retold in lauded play
SA: Some of Morris' early critics felt that the play's details of how the disease ravaged its victims were too graphic, according to the program prepared by Stewart for the new production. A reviewer said Morris had "written a horrible play about the suffering of the lepers" and said some of the passages were more than the average audience could stand.
Morris responded, "I had no wish to exaggerate it, but I had no wish to gloss over it" after visiting the settlement. Morris said there was no other way of describing the horrifying conditions Damien battled in the 1870s than to write "an honest play."
Of Damien's self-sacrifice, Morris said, "Damien wishes to share the cross — the lepers' cross. He regards leprosy and the suffering of the lepers as the wounds and agony of Christ."
The script of "Damien" is reprinted as the centerpiece of the current issue of the Manoa Journal, whose theme is "Almost Heaven." The issue will be on sale at the performances, and the public can also buy it at manoajournal.hawaii.edu/text/ordering/orderpage.html.
The play will be presented for the first time at Kennedy Theatre since its premiere.
Loomis CEO Pens another ‘Free Catholic’ Obamacare Screed
CB: Loomis' CEO cites questions of "...whether power should determine questions of truth..." but wants the government to control your health care and can't even begin to spot the contradiction. Pathetic.