The Hawai‘i State Legislature’s Kūpuna Caucus today unveiled the package of bills that are being introduced in the 2016 Legislative Session.
The bills address a wide array of issues that impact our seniors’ health and safety, including funding for kūpuna care and aging and disability resource centers statewide. Measures to provide caregiver training and financing, as well as long term care services with a half percent General Excise Tax increase is also included as part of the package, along with bills aimed at supporting health care services for Hawai‘i’s aging population.
One such bill, SB2064 and its companion bill HB1881, appropriates funding to restore staff and long-term care services at Leahi and Maluhia hospitals within the Hawai‘i health systems corporation. Both hospitals serve the highest number of individuals on Medicare and Medicaid, while reimbursements for care provided continue to decline. Both hospitals were forced to cut 64 staff positions and temporarily halt new admissions to remain operational due to an estimated $3.7 million deficit in fiscal year 2016.
“Our population is aging. Right now more than a third is 50 years old or older. We need to ensure there are enough facilities to assist our kūpuna so they can enjoy their golden years as best they can,” said Sen. Chun Oakland.
“Our seniors are the treasures of our community,” said Sen. Les Ihara, Jr. “Establishing the proper resources and services they need to live healthy, prosperous lives is what we intend to accomplish with these bills.”
“We need to increase the amount of services we provide to seniors because more and more seniors are living longer, living more healthfully, and living independently,” said Kūpuna Caucus co-convener, Rep. Gregg Takayama. “The resources we provide them as a state will enable them to continue to live independently for as long as possible.”
The Kūpuna Caucus, now in its 11th year, is comprised of a bi-partisan group of 18 House and Senate state legislators. Members of the Kūpuna Caucus include a broad array of community organizations, government departments, and individuals concerned about the well-being of the elderly in our community.
Other bills included in the 2016 Kūpuna Caucus Package include:
- SB2085/HB1878 RELATING TO AGING – Part I: Appropriates $5,100,000 for the Kūpuna Care program. Part II: Appropriates $1,710,000 for the aging and disability resource center. Part III: Appropriates $32,000 for fall prevention and early detection services for the elderly. Part IV: Appropriates $485,880 for the healthy aging partnership program. Part V: Appropriates $70,000 for an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia services coordinator position and appropriates $200,000 for an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia public awareness program.
- SB2072 MAKING AN APPROPRIATION FOR THE KŪPUNA CARE PROGRAM – Makes an appropriation for the Kūpuna Care program to provide a safety net for all kūpuna and their caregivers.
- SB2071 MAKING AN APPROPRIATION FOR THE AGING AND DISABILITY RESOURCE CENTER – Makes an appropriation for the aging and disability resource center.
- SB2074 MAKING AN APPROPRIATION FOR FALL PREVENTION AND EARLY DETECTION SERVICES FOR THE ELDERLY – Makes an appropriation for fall prevention and early detection services for the elderly.
- SB2073/HB1884 MAKING AN APPROPRIATION FOR THE OFFICE OF THE LONG-TERM CARE OMBUDSMAN – Appropriates $300,000 to the office of the long-term care ombudsman for three full-time (3.0 FTE) ombudsman specialist positions; one each on Kauai, Maui, and Hawai‘i.
- SB2065 MAKING AN APPROPRIATION FOR THE HEALTHY AGING PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM – Makes an appropriation for the healthy aging partnership program of the Department of Health’s executive office on aging.
- SB2066/HB1880 MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR SENIOR CITIZENS – Makes an appropriation for grants to various senior centers, Lanakila Multi-Purpose Center, Kapahulu, Mo‘ili‘ili, and Waikiki Community Center.
- SB2075 MAKING AN APPROPRIATION FOR AN ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AND RELATED DEMENTIA PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGN – Makes an appropriation for an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia public awareness campaign.
- SB2067/HB1876 RELATING TO HEALTH – Requires the Department of Health to require dementia training for caregivers. Requires the Department to establish training criteria and annual review the training program.
- SB2070/HB1877 RELATING TO HUMAN SERVICES – Appropriates funds to the Department of Human Services to create one full-time program specialist position for Maui County within the adult protective and community services branch to oversee the foster grandparent program and senior companion programs on Maui, Moloka‘i, and Lana‘i.
- SB2068/HB1882 RELATING TO COLLEGE SAVINGS PROGRAM TAX DEDUCTION – Provides an annual maximum deduction of $5,000 per individual or $10,000 for a married couple filing jointly for contributions made to the Hawai‘i college savings program.
- SB2207/HB1883 RELATING TO THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII CENTER ON AGING – Appropriates funds for a permanent full-time associate professor and permanent full-time assistant specialist position within the University of Hawaii center on aging.