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Senator Josh Green’s Response to Questions on Special Session on Honolulu Rapid Transit System

Senator Josh Green

Thanks for asking Damon.
I need to see the actual proposals before I answer hypotheticals.

At this point the only tax I support for rail is an extension of the GET on Oahu, which I believe would need to be for 8 additional years.

Sincerely,

Josh

Aloha Sen. Green,

Mahalo for representing the Big Island in legislative issues. I have some questions for you folks and hope you will respond to me by Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Questions:

1. Will you vote YES or NO on a 1% STATEWIDE increase to the Transient Accommodations Tax (9.25% to 10.25%) to help fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System in the upcoming legislative special session?
If your answer is YES, please explain why? If your answer is NO, please explain why?

2. Would you support a 6 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% from 2027 to 2034 if this will help fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE?
YES or NO

3. Would you support an increase of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% to 0.62% and a 3 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge from 2028 to 2030 if this will fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE?
YES or NO

I will be posting your answers (or non answer) on my website Hawaii News and Island Information (http://damontucker.com) .

Thank you for your participation in this quick and important decision that will affect all of us on this island.

Puna Community Town Hall – June 27th

An evening of legislative discussion and insight with Senator Russell Ruderman and his special guest, Senator Josh Green.Take advantage of this opportunity to weigh-in on the 2017 Legislative Session and give your input on legislation for 2018!

Additional information will be provided about participating directly in the legislative process.  Light refreshments will be served.

23 Cases of Dengue Fever – Hawaii State Senator Urges Awareness and Action

The growing number of confirmed cases of Dengue fever (23 as of today) has State Senator Josh Green (Dist. 3 – Kona, Ka‘u) calling on constituents within his district and across the entire Big Island to take extra precautions to stem the spread of the virus.  

mosquitoes

“As a State Senator and a Big Island physician, I’m concerned not only about the immediate well-being and safety of our residents and visitors, but also the real long term health and economic impacts an outbreak like this can have on the state,” said Sen. Green.  “Unless people become aware of the seriousness of this virus and take action, I’m worried the infection will spread and impact will grow,” said Sen. Green. “There may likely be more confirmed, as well as real but unconfirmed, clinical cases in the coming weeks. However, Dengue can be stopped if we all do our part to reverse the outbreak.”

The Senator has personally seen and treated patients in recent weeks he is concerned may have Dengue fever and is working with hospitals and schools on Hawai‘i Island to ensure there is proper communication to report suspected cases of Dengue. He notes that any constituents who have concerns that they might have acquired the virus should contact their local healthcare provider and the DOH infectious disease branch (808-586-4586). In addition, any calls or email to Senator Green (sengreen@capitol.hawaii.gov) will be placed in the hands of top DOH officials for immediate action.

The Senator is reminding residents and visitors to take measures to avoid the spread of Dengue Fever on Hawai‘i Island including: 

  • Applying mosquito repellents on exposed skin and clothing
  • Wear long sleeves and pants, and lighter colored clothing, to limit exposure to mosquitoes
  • Eliminate standing water around the place of residence to reduce mosquito breeding 
  • Repair screens and jalousie windows

Some key symptoms of Dengue include sudden onset of high fever (in some case over 103 degrees Fahrenheit) severe headaches especially behind the eyes, joint and muscle pain, and rash. It is rare, but bleeding can also occur with severe forms of Dengue fever and is a medical emergency.  “Anyone who believes they may have contracted Dengue should see a doctor immediately,” said Sen. Green. “People should take Tylenol for high fevers that may stem from Dengue fever and NOT aspirin or ibuprofen, that can add to complications of this disease.”

“Preventing Dengue Fever from becoming endemic in Hawai‘i will require a prolonged response from DOH, the county and state but most importantly, take good care now and call a healthcare provider if you feel sick,” Green concluded.

The latest information on the state’s efforts to control the spread of Dengue fever can be found on the DOH website www.health.hawaii.gov.

Senator Josh Green Announces Over $60 Million for West Hawai’i

Sen. Josh Green

Sen. Josh Green

Aloha Friends,

I am pleased to report that this year the State Legislature has approved over $60 million for West Hawai’i to improve our region’s transportation, education, healthcare, and justice systems.

These important new investments in our community’s roads, schools, and hospitals will continue to create jobs, stimulate our economy, and build our community for years to come.

I am particularly pleased to report that the Legislature has designated $35 million for the Kona Judiciary Complex, a facility which represents a major state investment in the development of West Hawai’i and will house 230 full-time employees when it is completed. In 2011, the Legislature appropriated $12 million for land acquisition and design of the complex, and this year the Legislature approved $35 million with the intention of approving an additional $55 million to complete construction in the coming years.

This year the Legislature has also approved an additional $2.4 million to complete the construction of phase I of the new West Hawai’i Community College Campus at Palamanui, bringing the state investment in the new campus to $14.9 million in addition to private investment of close to $20 million. This new campus will give our young people the option of pursuing higher education in West Hawai’i, and will serve as an educational resource for our entire community.

In addition, the Legislature has renewed the Hospital Sustainability Act, which will this year bring than $62 million in federal money to help strengthen and support hospitals in Hawai’i, including millions of dollars for Kona Community Hospital and North Hawai’i Community Hospital on the Big Island.

Projects approved for West Hawai’i during the 2014 legislative session include:

  • Kona Judiciary Complex –$35 million for design and construction of the new Kona Judiciary Complex, a planned 142,00 square-foot facility on a 10-acre parcel across from the West Hawai`i Civic Center in Kona
  • Kona Community Hospital – $5 million for renovations and upgrades to Kona Community Hospital, including $2 million for elevator replacement, $2 million for electrical upgrades, and $1 million for asbestos abatement
  • Kona International Airport – $3.4 million for airport improvements including $1.9 million for design for improvements to the south ramp taxiway and ramp and other related improvements, and $1.5 million for design and construction of an international arrivals building
  • Ka`u Irrigation System – $2.5 million for design and construction of improvements to the irrigation system including ground and site improvements, equipment and appurtenances
  • NELHA – $2.5 million for plans, design, and construction to complete the exploration phase for potable water, to include well siting studies, field investigations, environmental assessment, permitting, plans and specifications for the exploratory well
  • West Hawai’i Community College at Palamanui – $2.4 million for design and construction of the completion of Phase I of the new West Hawai’i Community College Campus at Palamanui
  • Saddle Road Extension – $2 million for design of a new roadway and/or realignment and extending the Saddle Road from the Hilo terminus to the Queen Kaahumanu Highway
  • West Hawai’i Veterans Cemetery – $1.6 million for plans, design, and construction of a non-potable water well including pumps, piping and appurtenances, water tank, and power generation system for West Hawai`i Veterans Cemetery
  • Public High School Improvements – $1.1 million for improvements to Public High Schools including $550,000 for Ka`u High School for construction to provide improvements for the current locker room and gym restoration, $300,000 for Kealakehe High School for design of upgrades to an all-weather and synthetic track, and $250,000 for Konawaena High School for design and equipment for the installation of a new lighting system for the gymnasium, ground and site improvements, equipment, and appurtenances
  • West Hawai’i Community Health Center – $1 million for construction of the West Hawai`i Community Health Center in Kona
  • Lai Opua 2020 – $950,000 for construction and improvements for the parking lot and road
  • Hawai’i Ocean View Estates Water Resources  – $725,000 for plans and design for the expansion of water resources
  • Kona Historical Society – $200,000 to provide project funding to develop educational programs, increase staffing and volunteer recruitment and training, improve cultural and historic sites, and maintain grounds and facilities
  • Hawai’i Island Humane Society – $200,000 for plans, design, construction and equipment for the Hawai`i Island Animal Community Center, Phase I
  • Project Vision Hawai’i – $79,214 to expand Big Island health screening services for the poor and disabled

As your State Senator, I will continue to work hard every day to improve our transportation, education, healthcare, and justice systems and make our roads, schools, and hospitals in West Hawai’i the best that they can be.

Let’s keep working together to achieve even greater results in the coming years, and to make West Hawai’i and our entire state an even better place to live.

Aloha,

Josh Green
State Senator
District 3, West Hawai’i

West Hawaii Community Forums on Health Care Issues Scheduled

If you are interested in health care in West Hawaii or want to learn more about the Affordable Care Act, two upcoming community forums are designed to answer your questions.  Community Enterprises is pleased to announce a two part program on health care in West Hawaii that it will present from 6:00-8:00 pm on Tuesday, September 17 and 5:30-8:00 pm Tuesday, October 15, at Maka’eo Pavilion at the Old Airport Park.

State Senator Dr. Josh Green

State Senator Dr. Josh Green will be on hand.

The Community Forum on September 17 will focus on critical health issues in West Hawaii and specific actions that are being taken by West Hawaii health providers to address them.  Presenters for the evening include Dr. Sharon Vitousek, former Director of the North Hawaii Outcomes Project; Susan Hunt, Director of the Hawaii Island Beacon Project to improve the use of innovative technology in patient care; Jay Kreuzer, CEO of Kona Community Hospital; Richard Taaffe, Executive Director of the West Hawaii Community Health Center; and Dr. Jeffrey Tolan, West Hawaii Medical Chief for Kaiser Permanente.  The latter three will discuss actions taken by these institutions to improve health care in West Hawaii.  They will be joined by State Senator Dr. Josh Green in a panel discussion during the second hour of the September 17 forum.

On Tuesday, October 15, the Community Enterprises will present a second health care forum, this one focusing on implementation of the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as ObamaCare.  Tom Matsuda, Implementation Manager of the Affordable Care Act in Hawaii, and Coral Andrews, Executive Director of the Hawaii Health Connector, an on-line health insurance marketplace will be the main presenters. They will also participate in a panel discussion with Senator Josh Green.  Representatives from the West Hawaii Community Health Center, Hope Services Hawaii, and the HIV AIDS Foundation who have been trained as Marketplace Assisters regarding the ACA will also be available to provide personal assistance.

Both programs will be moderated by Sherry Bracken.  Pupus and beverages will be served.

For more information please call John Buckstead at 326-9779 or email jbuckstead@hawaii.rr.com.

 

Commentary: Senator Josh Green – “Over $180 Million in Appropriations for West Hawaii Over the Next Two Fiscal Years”

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to report that this year the State Legislature has approved over $180 million in appropriations for West Hawai’i over the next two fiscal years to improve our region’s transportation, education, healthcare, and justice systems.

These important new investments in our community’s roads, schools, and hospitals will continue to create jobs, stimulate our economy, and build our community for years to come.

I am particularly pleased to report that this year the Legislature has made a strong commitment to complete the new Kona Judiciary Complex, a facility which represents a large state investment in the development of West Hawai’i and will house 230 full-time employees when it is completed. In 2011, the Legislature appropriated $12 million for land acquisition and design of the complex, and this year the Legislature approved an additional $9 million to begin construction with the intention of approving an additional $81 million to complete construction in the coming years.

This year the Legislature has also approved an additional $2.4 million to complete the construction of phase I of the new West Hawai’i Community College Campus at Palamanui, bringing the state investment in the new campus to $14.9 million, in addition to private investment of close to $20 million. This new campus will give our young people the option of pursuing higher education in West Hawai’i, and will serve as an educational resource for our entire community.

In addition, the Legislature has renewed the Hospital Sustainability Act, which will this year again bring more than $37 million in federal money to help strengthen and support hospitals in Hawai’i, including over $4 million to North Hawai’i Community Hospital on the Big Island.

Projects approved for West Hawai’i during the 2013 legislative session include:

  • Kona International Airport – $113.5 million for airport improvements including construction of the first phase of the terminal expansion program, design and construction of an international arrivals building, and extensive security improvements
  • Saddle Road Extension – $15.8 million for design of a new roadway extending the Saddle Road from the Hilo terminus to Queen Kaahumanu Highway, and land acquisition and construction of a road maintenance facility that includes maintenance and office structures
  • Puuanahulu Shooting Range Facility – $13 million for plans, design, and construction of the Puuanahulu Shooting Range Facility
  • NELHA Frontage Road – $9.7 million for construction of a frontage road and new connections to the Kaiminani Drive and Makako Bay Drive intersections on Queen Kaahumanu Highway
  • Kona Judiciary Complex – $9 million for plans, design, and construction of a new Judiciary Complex in Kona
  • Mamalahoa Highway – $6 million for construction of drainage improvements to Mamalahoa Highway in the vicinity of Puuwaawaa Ranch Road
  • Kona Community Hospital – $4 million for renovations and upgrades to Kona Community Hospital
  • Manuka Natural Area Reserve – $3.5 million for plans, design, and construction of a boundary fence at the Manuka Natural Area Preserve
  • West Hawai’i Community College at Palamanui – $2.4 million for design and construction of the completion of phase I of the new West Hawai’i Community College Campus
  • Kohala Community Hospital – $1 million for renovations and upgrades to Kohala Community Hospital
  • Kealakehe High School – $300,000 for design of upgrades to an all-weather and synthetic track at Kealakehe High School

Please join me at the West Hawai’i Community Forum on Tuesday, May 14 at 6:00 pm at the Main Pavilion of Maka’eo (Old Airport) Park, along with our other legislators from West Hawai’i. Come join us for pupus and beverages, talk story, and share your ideas and concerns with your representatives in state government.

As your State Senator, I will continue to work hard every day to improve our transportation, education, healthcare, and justice systems and make our roads, schools, and hospitals in West Hawai’i the best that they can be.

Let’s keep working together to achieve even greater results in the coming years, and to make West Hawai’i and our entire state an even better place to live.

Aloha,

Senator Josh Green

 

 

 
Josh Green, State Senator, District 3, West Hawai’i

 

 

Critical Action Needed to Address Hawaii County Health Services

Briefing Serves as Springboard for Legislators and Island’s Health Leadership to Address Urgent Policy Priorities

The critical importance of improving the availability of healthcare services in Hawaii County – now and in the future – was brought home to state legislators at a recent discussion of health problems, solutions and policy priorities for 2012 sponsored by the Hawaii Island Healthcare Alliance. “Poor access to care just because you live on the Big Island is simply not acceptable,” said one community member.

About 45 health stakeholders met at Tutu’s House in Kamuela on Dec. 7th with Big Island legislators, Sen. Josh Green and Rep. Cindy Evans and Governor’s liaison John Buckstead to discuss how to align efforts to improve Hawaii Island health & healthcare. The briefing focused on the Alliance’s three policy priorities: state funding for the UH Family Medicine Residency program in Hilo, funding hospital capital requirements, and improvements to allow Health Information Exchange (HIE), specifically the harmonization of state and federal regulations.

Hawaii Island has the state’s greatest shortage of primary care physicians, physicians’ assistants, and nurse practitioners, equating to 33 percent fewer than needed to adequately care for the population, according to a presentation by Kelley Withy, MD, PhD, author of the Hawaii Physician Workforce Assessment Project, UH John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) Area Health Education Center. Withy also noted, “This shortage is projected to double by the year 2020, resulting in the island having more than 330 fewer physicians than needed to serve the population.”

“This provider shortage reduces access to healthcare on our island and is associated with higher death rates, lower life expectancy and higher hospital costs,” said Alliance Chair Sharon Vitousek, MD. One of the Alliance’s top priorities to address these disparities is to grow primary care providers through the UH Family Medicine Residency Program on Hawaii Island. Vitousek emphasized the economic as well as health benefits of this strategy. “These Health workforce shortages are in the bigger context of large economic disparities on our island. The provider shortages are in part a result of a poorer rural  economy with higher unemployment and higher uninsured and underinsured on Hawaii Island. But more importantly, since  health providers (hospitals and clinics) are the largest employers in many of our communities, stimulating the health economy through growth of the health workforce would also stimulate economic development and grow jobs on our island.”

Rep. Cindy Evans praised the Alliance for its leadership in uniting the healthcare community. “Our healthcare system is the sum of its parts,” she noted. “Having the Alliance represent agreement on priorities for the Big Island will help us better utilize our resources. We need solutions that will take us into the future, not just temporary fixes.”

Stakeholders agreed that funding of the UH Family Medicine Residency Program represents the most viable option for reversing the primary care provider shortage. Boyd Murayama, Assistant Administrator at Hilo Medical Center, which operates the Hawaii Island Family Health Center (the planned site of the Family Medicine Residency Program), noted that more than 90 students from the UH Schools of Pharmacy and Nursing have rotated through the center this year. The program recently hit a key milestone with the arrival this month of a Program Director. The next milestones are the application for accreditation in 2012 and then Family Medicine Residents will start in 2014. “This will add four new Family Medicine doctors to our island every year thereafter” said Murayama, who has had extensive experience with medical group development at UCSF.

Following the meeting, Sen. Josh Green responded to this immediate need for funding the Residency Program by expediting Hilo Medical Center’s agreement with the State Department of Health to provide $200,000 in funding over 12 months to support the residency program in the next year. This funding enables the State to take advantage of matching funds from TriWest. David McIntyre, President and CEO of TriWest Healthcare Alliance, a strong financial supporter of the Hilo Residency program, has indicated that TriWest’s donations were “designed to ensure access to care for its customers, the Coast Guard and the Army and Air Guard units in Hilo. And, TriWest is pleased that the initiative contributes to improving access to care on the Big Island.” The approximately $2 million TriWest donation is contingent on an ongoing state match of funds for the Residency Program.

Building the primary care workforce is a pillar of the Alliance’s mission. “There is compelling evidence that health care  outcomes and costs in the United States are strongly linked to the availability of primary care physicians. For each incremental primary care physician, there are 1.44 fewer deaths per 10,000 persons,” said Chip Hixon, MD, Department Chair of Family Medicine and Community Health, JABSOM. “Patients with a regular primary care physician have lower overall health care costs than those without one.”

“The current effort to launch the Family Medicine Residency program in Hilo is substantially stronger than the previous effort in the 90s,” said Neal Palafox MD of the UH John A. Burns School of Medicine. “The current effort has better planning, more partners, better funding, better revenue maximization, better leadership and most importantly stronger community support.”

Hawaii Medical Association Director and Alliance member, Dr. Chris Flanders also voiced strong support for the Hilo  Residency program as a key strategy to improve access for the Big Island.

In addressing the Alliance’s HIE priorities, Susan B. Hunt, MHA, Beacon Grant Project Director and CEO, Hawaii Island  Beacon Community, explained that Hawaii Island has the funding, the tools, the relationships and the motivation to build an extraordinary system of health information exchange thanks to the Beacon Cooperative Agreement.

“We need the support of the legislature to ensure that we have laws that provide an adequate level of protection of personal health information, while also allowing this information to flow in a timely and useable manner to improve quality of care and to improve the health of our population while reducing the overall cost of care delivery,” she said.

Jay Kreuzer, HHSC West Hawaii Regional CEO echoed Hunt’s comments, “We have an unprecedented opportunity with the Beacon community that will move our island forward while we address Hawaii’s provider shortage, upgrading facilities and equipment, and implementing new clinical and system technologies.”

Dan Domizio, a Physician’s Assistant, Alliance member and director of the Puna Community Health Center shared progress improving access in Puna through effective use of Physician’s Assistants which has helped save costs by reducing Emergency Room visits. Domizio urged the legislators to support reducing administrative barriers to effective use of mid-level providers.

About the Hawaii Island Healthcare Alliance

The Alliance members include providers, insurers, businesses, policymakers, educators, and government, labor and community leaders.

The briefing’s presentation is available at hawaiihealthcarealliance.org/policymakers (see Building a Healthier Hawaii Island Together – December 2011). The vision of the Hawaii Island Healthcare Alliance is that Hawaii Island residents lead healthy and productive lives and have access to quality healthcare. The mission of the Alliance is to develop dialogue and promote consensus agreements and recommendations for improving access to and the quality of healthcare services on Hawaii Island.

Members include: providers, insurance, business, policymakers, educators, and government, labor and community leaders. The collaborative islandwide effort attempts to leverage community, state and national resources through an inclusive process that is open and transparent. The Hawaii Island Healthcare Alliance fiscal sponsor is Friends of the Future, a 501(c) (3) organization. The website is www.hawaiihealthcarealliance.org

Legislative Update by Senator Josh Green

Dear Friends,

As the 2011 legislative session approaches its mid-point, I would like to report that I am still fighting for important legislation and major improvements in healthcare, education, and law enforcement for West Hawaii.

My proposed Hawaii Health Corps measure will establish a loan repayment program to help keep doctors and nurses in Hawaii, so our community will have the health professionals we need.

To further strengthen our healthcare system, I have requested $16 million for improvements to Kona and Kohala Hospitals that will help these facilities provide quality care to everyone in West Hawaii.

In addition, I am pushing for $15 million to invest in an expansion of West Hawaii Community College to better serve our students.

Finally, we are seeking $11.5 million to build a new courthouse in Kona that will make our justice system safer and more efficient for our judges, juries, and police force.

These capital improvements will create jobs, expand services, and bring needed investment to West Hawaii so that our economy and civic life continue to grow.

Please contact me any time with your ideas and concerns. Let’s keep working together to achieve great results and make West Hawaii an even better place to live.

Aloha,

Josh Green
State Senator
District 3, West Hawaii

Senator Josh Green Asks Governor Lingle for Help With Kona Fires and the Response

Senator Josh Green sent the following email off  YESTERDAY to Governor Lingle regarding the Kona Brush Fires:

Dear Gov,

Could you please institute some emergency support to quell the fires in West Hawaii .

It has become a health hazard.

Sincerely,




Josh

Governor Lingles Response:

Josh, thanks for bringing this to my attention. Via a copy of this email I am asking General Lee to contact Big Island Civil Defense to determine if and what kind of help they might need. I have copied DLNR Director Thielen as well as my Chief of Staff so we are all linked in when General Lee receives a response from Big Island Civil Defense. Aloha, Gov