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Saturday, September 6, 2014
September 6, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:49 PM :: 4466 Views

LA, TN, NV, HI Decisions: States May Uphold Traditional Marriage

OHA Finally Gets Around to Announcing Roll Reopening--Takes Aim at Hawaiian Registry Program

CNHA-OHA Backroom Deal to Control ‘Nation Building’?

HECO Prepares to Disconnect Unapproved Solar Systems

After Joining Queens, Kamuela Hospital in the Black, Recruiting MDs

WHT: Waimea’s hospital ended the last fiscal year with more than $1 million in operating profit, a first for an organization that has registered consistent losses since it opened in 1996.

North Hawaii Community Hospital is also embarking on an aggressive campaign to update buildings, equipment, information technology and record-keeping in the wake of a recent affiliation with The Queen’s Health Systems, according to the hospital’s acting president Kenneth Graham.

“We will be spending $12 million this fiscal year,” he said.

NHCH, with 300 employees, will have about 320 people working when the transition surrounding the merger is complete, Graham said. About 40 positions are open across the facility. Thirteen of those are slots for physicians, nine of them are new, Graham told West Hawaii Today following a Thursday night informational meeting of the Waimea Community Association.

Ten of the 13 physician openings are for specialties, including cardiology, surgery, oncology and obstetrics, Graham said. The hospital is in the midst of a recruitment effort with the hope of filling four to five positions by year’s end....

About $1 million has been spent so far this year on new EKG monitors, beds, sanitation, an infant security system and other equipment. In the coming months the hospital will replace the air conditioning and air duct systems and repair the roof. NHCH is also upgrading its information technology and will have a new medical records system in place within 20 months that will tie into the larger Queen’s system....

Prior to this year, the hospital had operated at around a $4 million loss annually....

Meanwhile: $48M Shortfall: HHSC Layoffs Begin September 2

read ... A Model for HHSC

Governor candidates claim they can be independent from union supporters

HNN: Union endorsements can be very helpful for the governor candidates this year, because none of them has raised large amounts of money. Unions can offer the campaigns cash and foot soldiers, volunteers who walk door-to-door or help with phone-banking and other important tasks.

In this year's Democratic primary, State Sen. David Ige was endorsed by the Hawaii State Teachers Association, the public school teachers' union.

Ige said he has taken stands against HSTA that has often backed him over the years.  (But not this year....)

REALITY: Ige's Dirty Deal With HSTA: Phony 'Procedural Mixup' Dooms Key Education Measures

The Hawaii Government Employees Association, the state's largest union that represents about 43,000 current and retired state and county employees, endorsed Ige for the general election. (Then it died in conference committee, conveniently leaving no fingerprints)

Ige said he chaired of the Senate health committee when it passed the framework for public-private partnerships in the state hospital system, something public unions opposed. 

5 years later, still waiting: Legislative Report: Convert HHSC to non-profit, dump civil service (full text)

Independent gubernatorial candidate Mufi Hannemann served six years as Honolulu mayor. This year he has been endorsed by SHOPO, the police officers union as well as the Teamsters, who represent city bus drivers....

Hannemann did not provide any examples of direct conflicts with unions that had endorsed him.  (Yep)

Republican gubernatorial candidate Duke Aiona has not been endorsed by any unions so far in the governor's race.  (good thing they're split, eh?)

read ... Know them by what they deny

Doctor Shortage: Coverage Does not Equal Care

SA: The Affordable Care Act and aging residents are feeding the gap between demand and supply.  Health officials are bracing for a significant physician shortage as demand for services grows among Hawaii's aging population and more doctors leave the workforce.

The state is currently facing a shortage of more than 700 physicians, a statistic that is expected to double by 2020, according to preliminary data collected by the Hawai‘i/Pacific Basin Area Health Education Center at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine.

It took three months for Hilo residents David and Helen Bradbury to find a primary care doctor when the Oregon retirees moved to the islands four years ago.

"We had about two or three refusals before we found one that would accept our Medicare and TRICARE insurance," said David Bradbury, 77. "They just weren't taking any more of that insurance or weren't taking it at all or were slowing down (their practices).

read ... Isles face widening shortage

Class-action suit accuses state of denying treatments for autism

HNN: Suzanne Egan is the single-mother of a severely autistic five-year old boy. The Kalama Valley resident says she can no longer afford the $5,000-a-month treatments for her son's autism, which she believes should be covered by Medicaid.

"My child has not received the interventions he requires in his formative years and that's going to affect him for the rest of his life," said Egan.

On Friday, Egan and the Hawaii Disability Rights Center filed a class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Honolulu, accusing the state Department of Human Services of ignoring federal Medicaid rules require the state treatments for the autistic.

The service is called applied behavioral analysis treatment, or ABA, and it involves one-on-one counseling and behavior modification training.

Many say it's effective in treating autism in early childhood development. But it costs between $30,000 and $50,000 per student....

read ... Coverage, not Care

Homeless 88-year-old veteran a Housing First success story

HNN: 88-year-old Air Force Veteran Thomas Murray V is one of more than a dozen people now placed in an apartment subsidized by the State.

His one-bedroom unit in Makiki is a big step up from where he was last year living out of self storage, and sleeping in his car.

He was one of the first homeless seniors to get a rental through the U.S. VETS Housing First program last May.

read ... Housing First

State Leases City Land for Sand Island Homeless Tent City

SA: City Managing Director Ember Shinn told the Hono­lulu Star-Advertiser on Friday that she expects the city to select a vendor and have the site up and running in two to three months. Shinn said she expects the city to spend no more than about $500,000 for the contract.  (Translation: This will be bare bones but it still costs $5000 each.)

Shinn reiterated that the Sand Island site is not a traditional "safe zone" or homeless encampment, (know them by what they deny) but rather a temporary "transitional center" for about 100 people who meet the definition of "chronically homeless" and agree to work toward eventually moving into permanent housing under Housing First.  The city is aiming to have those using the site to move into more permanent shelter within a year to 18 months, although the no-cost lease agreed to by the Abercrombie administration allows for the city to use the site for up to three years.

"We're hoping that we can bring people in off the streets, assess them if they haven't been assessed, score and rank them in terms of their priorities for services, and then move them into permanent shelters as they become available," she said.

Those who stay at the T-MASH site hellhole will need to bring their own tents. "We are not providing any walls or permanent shelters whatsoever; it's totally transitional," she said.  (Flashback Aug 29: Ember Shinn: "Sand Island Will not be a Tent City" )

But there will be 24-hour property management and security, portable restrooms and showers, storage units, benches, park tables and on-site services from various human services providers available, Shinn said.  Additionally, the city will provide shuttle service to a major city bus line, either along Nimitz Highway or the nearby Middle Street transit hub. 

Pets will be allowed and there will be no curfews, (Its hard to steal copper during daytime.) but residents will need to abide by some rules. Security, however, will be focused on making sure the site is safe for those staying there, not on cracking down on illegal activities, Shinn said.  (Translation: They can do meth all day long but if they freak out and start whacking somebody over the head, the guards might do something.) 

Peter Hirai, city deputy director for emergency management, is assisting Shinn and city housing officials in setting up the Sand Island transition center because of his experience in setting up post-disaster shelters. Hirai said he spoke with Honolulu police officers who provided security at former Mayor Frank Fasi's tent city at Aala Park in the early 1990s, which became a haven for drugs and crime before being shut down. "We definitely don't want a repeat of that," he said, noting that 24-hour property management and security would be key difference. (LOL!  We already know where this is going.  We've been here before.)

Liar: Ember Shinn: "Sand Island Will not be a Tent City"

Reality: Homeless tent cities: Seattle’s decade-long nightmare coming to Honolulu?

read ... History Repeats Itself

Low funds idle Hawaii Army National Guard units

AP: Tens of thousands of Army National Guard members from Ohio and other states have been idled because of a $101 million gap that has led to drills being postponed and travel being suspended, National Guard spokesman Capt. John Fesler said. Meanwhile, there are efforts underway in Congress to get funding reallocated so drills can be held later this month and so Guard members can get pay they were counting on.

Decisions to postpone or cancel drills were being made by state Guard leaders. In addition to Ohio, states that announced that they’d put off training exercises are Alabama, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Utah. Some, including Alaska, New Jersey, Oregon and Vermont, planned to go ahead as scheduled. Texas authorities said Guard members already on border missions won’t be affected by the training delay.

Among reasons for the shortfall are fewer Guard deployments overseas that are funded separately and higher-than-expected attendance for training paid by the Guard.

read ... Low Funds

GEMS: State to Fund $150M in Subprime Mortgages

PBN: The Green Energy Market Securitization, or GEMS program will use a market-based funding mechanism to channel $150 million in private capital into clean energy investments.

The program is aimed at traditionally underserved markets in Hawaii, such as low-and moderate income homeowners, renters and nonprofit organizations.

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission’s order marks the first time nationally that this type of financing model has been approved to provide low-cost financing for the installation of clean energy equipment.

read  ... Subprime

Manoa Rapist Sues State for Parole

KHON: Last month, the man known as the Manoa rapist was denied parole, as he has been every year since the mid-1990s when the minimum of his life sentences was met.

On Friday, Freudenberg’s attorney was back in a federal courtroom. Freudenberg is now suing the state, alleging constitutional violations for not getting the same access to work furlough and parole that others, including rapists and murderers, have been able to get.

“They’re not saying you can’t go to furlough. They’re simply saying, ‘We’re not ready for you yet, that we have to have a stable program, or we have to have the personnel’ and it’s a variety of what I consider outright lies,” said attorney Myles Breiner.

“We don’t believe that the plaintiff, Mr. Freudenberg, has a federal right to a work furlough program or to be paroled, and the case law supports us on that,” said John Molay, state deputy attorney general.

The U.S. District Court judge has yet to issue a ruling on Friday’s item, which was the state’s motion to dismiss the inmate’s lawsuit.

But the judge did say case law supports the state.

SA: Liberals Freak out because Halawa Prisoners Wearing Stripes

read ... Motion to Dismiss

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