Statement Regarding Auditor’s Report – “…Report, however, relied on outdated information…”

“The Department of Human Services (DHS) is committed to eliminating all fraud, waste and abuse. The Department appreciates the assistance of the Legislature and the State Auditor’s Office to help identify areas to reduce medical assistance program costs and to improve program integrity,” said DHS Director Patricia McManaman. “The Auditor’s Report, however, relied on outdated information and did not recognize the Department’s substantial progress under the Abercrombie Administration to enhance program integrity and eliminate abuses,” said McManaman.

Department of Human Services

Since the 2011 federal report was issued, the DHS has implemented new systems, processes, screening and enrollment requirements, contractual requirements for health plans, and launched a new eligibility system, KOLEA — all with the goal of reducing fraud and waste.

The DHS is seeking funds from the 2014 Legislature for an additional investigator, fraud auditor and program integrity manager. Funding also is being sought for an asset verification IT system, which will interface with KOLEA. The verification system will improve program integrity for all individuals still subject to asset verification.

The Auditor’s Report expressly recognizes that Hawaii’s Medicaid program fares well when compared to peer states in the rest of the nation. It also notes that DHS has managed to control its costs on a per-enrollee basis even in the face of growing Medicaid enrollment. In 2010, Hawaii’s per-enrollee costs were 19 percent lower than the average among peer states.

Hawaii’s efforts to control costs did not come at the expense of quality. In 2013, the Commonwealth Fund ranked Hawaii as the state with the best health care system for low income individuals. “The Med-QUEST staff is dedicated to providing timely access to quality care for beneficiaries, while assuring proper oversight of taxpayer dollars. Ultimately, it is my responsibility to assure program integrity throughout the Department,” said McManaman.

An estimated 301,000 individuals are enrolled in the Hawaii Medicaid program, which is administered through the Department of Human Services.

For more information about the Department of Human Services, Med-QUEST Division visit http://humanservices.hawaii.gov/mqd.

Free Carcasses: 4-Wheel Drive Vehicles Required

DLNR PLANS ANIMAL CONTROL ACTIVITIES IN PALILA HABITAT, Temporary closures set for Mauna Kea Forest Reserve, palila mitigation lands, and Kaohe Game Management Area

The Department of Land and Natural Resources’ (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) will conduct animal control activities specifically for trapping mouflon/feral sheep hybrids; staff hunting, and/or aerial shooting from helicopters for feral goats, feral sheep, mouflon and mouflon/feral sheep hybrids within palila critical habitat in the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve (Unit A), palila mitigation lands, and the Ka’ohe Game Management Area (Unit G) on the island of Hawai’i.

[googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=202675488770027200871.0004b867a4eaae7c1e353&ie=UTF8&t=m&ll=19.80158,-155.609864&spn=0.06624,0.090241&output=embed&w=425&h=350]

Aerial shooting is required for compliance with the federal court order mandating the removal of sheep and goats from critical habitat for palila, a bird endemic to Hawai’i.

Control schedules are January 22 and 23, 2014; February 5 and 6; 2014 and March 19 and 20, 2014.

Public access to Mauna Kea Forest Reserve, palila mitigation lands, the Ka’ohe Game Management Area and Mauna Kea Hunter Access Road will be restricted and allowed BY PERMIT ONLY for animal salvage purposes on the following dates:

7 a.m. January 22, February 5, and March 19, 2014
6 a.m. January 23, February 6, and March 20, 2014

These actions are pursuant to Hawai’i Administrative Rules Chapters 13-130-19 and 13-104-23(a) (3). The Mauna Kea Observatory Road will remain open.

The temporary closure is needed to minimize the dangers of incompatible uses in the forest area and safely conduct animal control activities. To implement the closure, both the Hale Pohaku and Kilohana gated entrances to Unit A and G and the gate behind Mauna Kea State Recreation Area will be locked/reopened as follows:

Locked 7 p.m. January 21, 2014, and reopened 7 p.m. January 23, 2014
Locked 7 p.m. February 4, 2014, and reopened 7 p.m. February 6, 2014
Locked 7 p.m., March 18, 2014, and reopened 7 p.m. March 20, 2014

Copies of the map illustrating the area subject to aerial shooting on these dates are available for inspection at the Division of Forestry and Wildlife Office.

Due to high public participation, telephone call-ins to the DOFAW Kamuela Office at (808) 887-6063 for receiving salvage permits will be conducted up to 10 a.m. the day before each shoot day. One permit will be issued per call per vehicle for one day only.

Applicants can have their names added to a stand-by list for additional days, should all slots not be filled by other applicants. No standbys waiting at the gates will be allowed access. The driver, occupants, vehicle license plate, and make/model of vehicle are needed when calling in.

A maximum of 15 permitted vehicles will be allowed at the Pu‘u Ko‘ohi location and 10 permitted vehicles at the Kaluamakani location.

Carcasses taken during the shoot will be available to the permitted public for salvage at the following locations (4-wheel drive vehicle are required, and access permits will be issued). There is no guarantee that animals will be able to be salvaged.

The following meat salvage locations are subject to change:

  • On January 22, February 5, and March 19, 2014, at Pu’u Ko’ohi. Permittees must meet at Mauna Kea State Park at 7 a.m. sharp.
  • On January 23, February 6, and March 20, 2014, at Kaluamakani. Permittees must meet across from the Waimea Veterinary office on Mana Road at 6 a.m. sharp.

Contact the Division of Forestry and Wildlife in Hilo at (808) 974-4221 or in Kamuela at (808) 887-6063 for additional details regarding meat salvage or access permits.

Hawai’i Mayors Attend U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington

Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi travels to Washington, D.C. today to join more than 280 of the nation’s mayors as well as congressional leaders and members of President Obama’s cabinet at the U.S. Conference of Mayors 82nd Winter Meeting.

Mayor Kenoi greets President Obama at the 78th U.S. Conference of Mayors

Mayor Kenoi greets President Obama at the 78th U.S. Conference of Mayors

Mayor Kenoi, who is chair of the Hawai‘i Conference of Mayors, will attend the meeting with Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, and Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho. Mayor Kenoi is also a member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors National Advisory Board.

The Mayor's last year

The Mayor’s last year

The mayors will join President Barack Obama and members of his cabinet at the White House for a discussion of issues that affect municipalities, including trade, technology, climate change and affordable health care.

78th U.S. Mayor's Conference

78th U.S. Mayor’s Conference

Participants at the conference will include U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, and Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is designed to strengthen federal-city relationships, and promote effective national urban and suburban policy.

Managing Director Wally Lau will be acting mayor until Mayor Kenoi returns.