Month: November 2013

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National Island Rural Health Day – State Legislature lauds KRHCAI and HIRHCA

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Click on the link here  Joint Big Island Delegation for the PDF file of the resolution.




in support of

National Rural Health Day on November 21, 2013


WHEREAS, rural communities possess a strong sense of unity where everyone has a voice – people know each other, listen to/respect each other and work together for the greater good; rural communities are fueled by the creative energy of their community leaders – everyday people willing to step forward, share and implement a vision, and drive changes that benefit their neighbors; and

WHEREAS, rural doesn’t necessarily mean “remote” – diverse economic, cultural and recreational opportunities abound in rural communities; and

WHEREAS, the main emphasis of rural health care has always been on providing affordable, holistic, primary care – a model to follow as heath care transitions to a wellness/prevention-based system of health care; rural hospitals, clinics, centers, and healthcare practices are the economic foundation of their communities and are typically the largest employers that ensure a healthy workforce; and

WHEREAS, rural communities are locations where physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, dentists, dental hygienists, licensed social workers, and other practitioners have the unique opportunity to establish their own practices and provide quality healthcare services; and

WHEREAS, addressing the shortage of healthcare providers is one of the greatest health issues – and one of the greatest economic issues – facing rural communities today; and

WHEREAS, while the Affordable Care Act may make health care more affordable for rural communities, it doesn’t necessarily make it more accessible – fragile infrastructures and geographic barriers must be addressed in order to ensure that basic healthcare needs are met; and

WHEREAS, the healthcare needs of rural residents are as unique as the communities in which they live; those needs cannot be addressed by utilizing a generic “one size fits all” approach – programs and policies must be flexible enough to allow rural communities to identify and address the unique needs of their residents; and

WHEREAS, the KA‘U RURAL HEALTH COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION, INC., and the HAWAII ISLAND RURAL HEALTH COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION play a critical role by leading efforts to help Hawaii Island rural communities address their unique healthcare needs; now, therefore,

The Twenty-seventh Legislature of the State of Hawaii hereby congratulates and commends the many dedicated community leaders and partners from the KA‘U RURAL HEALTH COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION, INC., and the HAWAII ISLAND RURAL HEALTH COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION that continue to volunteer their time, energy, and resources to ensure the health and well-being of Hawaii Island’s rural communities, and extends its sincerest appreciation, fondest aloha, and best wishes in celebrating National Rural Health Day in Hawaii on November 21, 2013. 

2013 Prevent Suicide Hawaii Healing After Conference – Nov 20

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Nov. 14, 2013

HONOLULU – In observance of the 13th annual National Survivors of Suicide Day (Nov. 23) the Hawaii State Department of Health in conjunction with the Prevent Suicide Hawaii Task Force and community-based agencies will present the 2013 Prevent Suicide Hawaii Healing After Conference titled “Sustaining Communities, Families, and Individuals Through Life
Promoting Actions.” The conference will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Koolau Ballrooms and Conference Center located at 45-550 Kionaole Rd. in Kaneohe. Approximately 200 participants are expected to attend this annual event which provides hope and assistance for survivors in an atmosphere of support and healing. Sessions will be offered on survivor debriefing, healing through the arts, and strategic planning for suicide prevention in Hawaii.
Conference speakers and panelists include:
  • Dan Reidenberg, Psy.D. – Keynote Speaker, executive director of SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) in Bloomington, MN, managing director of the National Council for Suicide Prevention, and U.S. representative to the International Association of Suicide Prevention. He serves on the steering committees for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. 
  • Dr. David Brown, regional director, Behavioral Health, Pacific Regional Medical Command, Tripler Army Medical Center.
  • Deb Goebert, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine.
  • Roy Sakuma, Roy Sakuma Productions, renowned ukulele player and well-known inspirational speaker in Hawaii on bullying prevention.
Popular Hawaii singer-songwriter John Cruz will entertain conference attendees during lunchtime
The conference is being organized by members of the Prevent Suicide Hawaii Task Force (PSHTF), a state, public, and private partnership of individuals, organizations, and community groups working in collaboration to provide leadership for suicide prevention efforts in Hawaii. The aim of the conference is to bring together a community of survivors, advocates, educators, policymakers, and health professionals around the issue of suicide. In addition to the DOH Injury Prevention and Control Section and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division, conference sponsors include Queen’s Medical Center and Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center.
For more information, the conference website is at:
# # #
For more information on this news release contact:
Nancy Kern
Injury Prevention and Control Section
Phone: (808) 733-9238
Cell: (808) 220-2722
Fax: (808) 733-9222


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Office of the Press Secretary
November 14, 2013

FACT SHEET: New Administration Proposal To Help Consumers Facing Cancellations

“I’ve assigned my team to see what can we do to close some of the holes and gaps in the law, because my intention is to lift up and make sure the insurance that people buy is effective, that it’s actually going to deliver what they think they’re purchasing.  Because what we know is, before the law was passed, a lot of these plans people thought they had insurance coverage and then they’d find out that they had huge out-of-pocket expenses or women were being charged more than men.  If you had preexisting conditions, you just couldn’t get it at all.
“And we are proud of the consumer protections we’ve put into place.  On the other hand, we also want to make sure that nobody is put in a position where their plans have been canceled, they can’t afford a better plan even though they’d like to have a better plan.  And so we’re going to have to work hard to make sure that those folks are taken care of.” – President Barack Obama, November 7, 2013
Today, the majority of Americans have employer-based health insurance that is already providing them quality health care coverage. The Affordable Care Act strengthens employer coverage while creating new protections for people in the individual market – preventing them from being charged more because of a pre-existing condition or getting fewer benefits like mental health services or prescription drugs.
The new Health Insurance Marketplace will help millions of hard-working Americans find affordable health insurance.  Premiums are, on average, 16 percent below what was originally projected.  Nearly one in four insurers offering health plans through the Marketplace are selling to individuals for the first time.  And a recent study found that an estimated 17 million Americans can get discounts on their premiums through the Marketplace, through tax credits.
The law aimed to make Marketplace coverage optional for the less than 5 percent of Americans who have individual market coverage that they want to keep.  Health plans that consumers had when the law was passed in 2010 are “grandfathered” in and do not have to adopt most of the new consumer protections. But, in order to provide consumers with better protections and coverage, health insurers in the individual and small group markets have to adopt consumer protections for any new plans purchased after 2010. In some instances, they are adopting those protections by canceling current policies and replacing them with new and sometimes more costly plans.
Many consumers receiving these cancellation letters will be able to find a better deal with financial assistance or better coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, but we know a small slice of these consumers may not be eligible for a plan at a more affordable price. Last week President Obama directed his team to explore administrative actions that could be taken to help these consumers who are receiving cancellation letters.
To meet that commitment, today, HHS is using its administrative authority to:
·         Allow insurers to renew their current policies for current enrollees without adopting the 2014 market rule changes.  This will give consumers in the individual and small group markets the choice of staying in their plan or joining a new Marketplace plan next year.  HHS will consider the impact of this transitional policy in assessing whether to extend it beyond 2014.
·         Require insurers offering such renewals to ensure consumers are informed about their options.  Specifically, insurers offering these renewals must inform all consumers who either already have or will receive cancellation letters about the protections their renewed plan will not include and how they can learn about the new options available to them through the Marketplaces which will offer better protections and possible financial assistance.
·         To protect against the potential impacts this change will have on premiums, HHS will adjust the temporary risk corridor program which is designed to stabilize premiums as changes are implemented.

Whether an individual can keep their current plan will also depend on their insurance company and State insurance commissioner – but today’s action means that it will no longer be implementation of the law that is forcing them to buy a new plan.  Turnover is high in the individual market, with 50 to 67 percent of enrollees staying for a year or less.  This means that the number of people in these bare-bones policies will decrease over time.  As such, this action provides a smoother transition in a market that’s generally used as a bridge by most consumers.  And, this action will not allow these older plans to be sold to new customers in 2014, which would undermine the Marketplace and drive up premiums for millions of hard-working Americans.  In short, this administration solution will give consumers more information and choices, including keeping their old plans. As he has said since he signed the bill into law, the President is willing to work with members of Congress in either party on good-faith, constructive solutions that strengthen the law by pursuing the same goals as this Administrative action and do not seek to undermine or repeal the law as a whole.