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Thursday, August 21, 2008
A nurse says goodbye to Hawai`i
By Shane K. Pule, Sr. @ 1:10 AM :: 3337 Views

by Shane K Pule Sr

All the peoples of Hawai’i need to awaken and realize that what the American Democratic Party was calling for – the need to have government insurance for all people – is the same thing that is happening today in Hawai’i; and it is failing! If Americans on the mainland need an example of this then they only need to look to Hawai’i. Do not support the agenda of state or federal sanctioned socialized medicine. Hawaii is living proof of it’s failure.

The government cannot raise a family, they cannot effectively educate our children, so how can the provide health care? They cannot. They should not. The government is good at only a few things: 1) collecting taxes, 2) spending lots of money, and 3) waging war and defending us from enemies. I will be happy to concede these things to them and I ask no more. Other than that they need to stay clear of the things that should be left to the local governments or people themselves.

Your article went off more on the State Hospital tangent than actually completing it’s thought on North Hawai’i Community Hospital. The fact of Bakken’s antics & ranting about the Board, his contributions, the troubles the CEO has been having since the lay-offs, and in general the overall fact of the hospitals troubles that lead to their “radical” decision to lay-off.

How can a hospital facing a $7M shortfall only know about this overnight? Where did the money for years go? Did the Board squander money? Why did they still hire people like my wife to only lay her off a couple weeks later? Bakken makes a ranting over things going wrong, but isn’t or wasn’t he a part of the reason why things were wrong in the first place? How convenient to jump off the ship as it is sinking to claim no part of it’s sinking! The papers and people hold him as a big donor but the papers showed he gave less in a few year than most real LARGE donors give – given his influence in creating and present connections with Medtronic. If it was $7M then why couldn’t the State or County seek to prevent the loss by providing some sort of assistance, if any existed? Why did NH fail to get a bond rating before the lay-off?

All of these have surfaced as rumors fly out from NH as to its condition of health. Plus I’m sure there is no question that the State and County’s failure to act to prevent this occurrence is directly related to the fact that they want to not see private hospitals in Hawai’i; favoring their socialized medicine route.

My wife was a procedures nurse, hired not but just two weeks before. She was recruited from the State hospital, Kohala, for a raise in pay and their desire to pursue the Heart & Brain services; a job for which my wife has helped build and excel at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. Millions of dollars has been made in this newly emerging services which is connected with the Radiology Departments of hospitals and the overall benefit is to the patient and insurance. As these types of nurses provide care and deliver skills that may require doctors or multiple persons. Plus the decrease in insurance costs for these types of allied health professionals to do a task, that – if these persons weren’t there – would have been done by specialists at double or triple the costs.

Lets also talk about the facts that do exist that you also included. Yes the tie in is HMSA and the ripples of the State Hospitals are associated with NH. The fact is that the State’s lay-offs and other responses does hinder the whole system as the NH folks do not have anywhere to go; nor do the State’s. The State has a hiring freeze, and since it’s a State system, that is spread across all the islands. Had the private hospitals been present on the State, well then at least the State workers could have had a place to at least try to get a replacement job. So the only choice is the same one we are doing-- we have to leave our home and go to work out-of-state.

Yes, the State of Hawai’i is loosing 5 people and 2 dogs. That will affect the tax base, my vet looses business on my two dogs, utilities loose business, our favorite restaurants, Wal-Mart, Costco, our favorite gas stations… they all loose. Then multiply that by the others who have to do the same. Yes, the people need to wake up and see this. They need to stop taking it on the chin since the overthrow and begin to fight for their livelihoods so they do not have to leave and go to the mainland to work.

My wife found out that this is a California economy. We have California prices and we do almost everything California-style. However the Medicare reimbursements that the State is talking about speeding up will not help the bleeding. Why? Because the Medicare schedule is not based on California, but is based on the Marshall Islands--significantly less in reimbursements. Hence the reason behind why HMSA will NOT give up in their efforts to convince and pay the legislature to keep the system the same. They are charging the people California rates, in addition to making the people pay the 20% of their medical costs when using the insurance, and then only paying the service providers Marshall Islands rates. Hence their surplus is uncovered.

I am pro-capitalists & I believe in the American system! I want HMSA to make a profit. But not on the backs of the Hawai`i public. They can legitimately make a profit if the schedule was changed to that equal to California. The people would get the care they desired and you would see more medical services come to Hawai’i.

On our exit via stage right, I leave you with this: Keep up the pressure. People need wake-up and begin to care. A bunch of folks in Hawai’i are unaffected because at the drop of a hat they can jump on an airplane and get treated in California, Oregon, Washington, or other parts of the mainland. But the rest are stuck here until they can either better their chances to leave (as we are doing or had to do), or put up with the losses.


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