Pilot Program Improves Health Outcomes, Suggests Potential to Reduce Health Care Costs

Double-digit improvements in health outcomes are among the results of a recent care coordination pilot program led by Hawai‘i Island Care Coordination Services (HICCS), a joint venture between Ho‘okele Health Innovations and West Hawaii Home Health Services, with the support of the Hawai‘i Island Beacon Community (HIBC).

Beacon CommunitySeventy-eight high-cost, high-risk patients across Hawai‘i Island enrolled in the program by invitation and received, at no charge, the help of a care coordinator Registered Nurse (R.N.) and a Health Coach for one year. Forty-two patients also received, at no charge, Ho‘okele’s iHealthHome in-home health monitoring technology for one year. All patients had complex care needs due to chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol and were high users of emergency departments and inpatient care.

The R.N. worked with each patient to create a service plan to improve their health. They provided ongoing education about their complex conditions, helped patients get access to specialists, and helped keep track of prescriptions and appointments. The Health Coach provided support to make lifestyle changes. The iHealthHome technology enabled the patient to take biometric readings at home such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight; submit the data electronically to the R.N.; track their own progress; log food intake, exercise, and activities; and communicate with the R.N. via video calls.

Data showed a significant impact during the pilot’s 12-month timeframe, including:

  • 36 percent improvement in HbA1c blood sugar
  • 37 percent improvement in triglycerides
  • 29 percent reduction in inpatient hospital admissions
  • 25 percent reduction in emergency room visits

“These results show that care coordination is highly effective, even in a short amount of time,” said Susan B. Hunt, M.H.A., project director and CEO for HIBC. “This new model of care for patients with chronic disease is being tested across the nation.”

“The early successes we’ve achieved on Hawai‘i Island, through this pilot and the others we conducted, indicate the tremendous potential to improve care, improve health and, ultimately, lower costs by combining technology with increased patient education and support,” added Hunt. “There’s pride and accomplishment in seeing how health care in our community can be improved and knowing that this is just the beginning.”

“It was inspiring to watch people’s lives change,” said Dew-Anne Langcaon, Co-Founder of HICCS. “People who were homebound, overwhelmed and in declining health are now hopeful and excited to live life again. They gained confidence in knowing how to manage their health together with their primary care physician, and by the end of the study, most felt empowered to take control of their own plan for wellness. Utilization changes were at or better than similar programs on the mainland. We believe that this model can be replicated and adapted for other communities. With health information exchange systems underway locally and on the mainland, we’re going to see technology and care coordination working hand-in-hand to achieve even greater results.”

This complex care coordination pilot with HICCS was one of HIBC’s nine initiatives to improve health care on Hawai‘i Island: care coordination, care transitions, patient engagement, practice redesign, health information technology, health information exchange, payment reform, wellness, and data collection and analysis. In addition to the HICCS care coordination pilot, additional care coordination pilots were conducted at Bay Clinic, Hāmākua Health Center, and West Hawai‘i Community Health Center.

HMSA, an HIBC collaborator, conducted a limited financial analysis of the 42 patients with health insurance through HMSA. The post-intervention reduction in expensive services like hospitalization and patient’s reduction in the use of the emergency department suggests improvement in patient self-management has the potential to reduce care costs, though the study was not conclusive due to a small sample size and short intervention period.

“Pilot programs such as those led by HIBC provide evidence that innovation in the health care industry can materially impact patients living with chronic disease,” said Elisa Yadao, HMSA’s senior vice president of consumer experience and an HIBC board member. “The collaborative efforts that have taken place on Hawai‘i Island have given us invaluable insights and lessons for the rest of our state.”

Repair Project to Reopen Kolekole Gulch Park Restrooms

Upcoming repairs to the Kolekole Gulch Park sewage system will allow the Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation to reopen the park’s restrooms.

My son enjoying himself at Kolekole Park

My son enjoying himself at Kolekole Park

A private contractor will start fixing the park’s septic system on Monday, September 23, and is expected to be finished by the end of November. The Department will continue providing portable toilets until the work is completed and the restrooms become operational.

No permits for camping or exclusive use of the park’s pavilions will be issued until the project is completed, which is currently anticipated to occur on November 29. Located about 14 miles north of Hilo, Kolekole Gulch Park will remain open during the construction phase. Park visitors may continue using, on a first-come, first-served basis, the two small pavilions closest to the ocean.

The Department of Parks and Recreation apologizes for any inconvenience the temporary suspension of camping and pavilion rentals may cause. It thanks all park users, campers and the general public for their patience and understanding while the important construction work is occurring.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Police Identify Opihi Picker Who Got Swept Into Ocean


On Friday (September 13) at about 2:30 p.m., Hāmākua Police responded to the report of a fisherman who had been swept into the ocean in the area of Kawela’s Beach near Honokaa while he was picking opihi with two friends.

The Hawai´i Fire Department recovered the body of 27-year-old James McGivern Jr. ,of Paauilo. He was pronounced dead on that date at 2:58 p.m. at the Hale Ho’ola Hāmākua Emergency Room. Autopsy findings indicate that the death was accidental, due to drowning.

Big Island Police Charge Man In Connection to Robbery at Kona Restaurant

Hawai´i Island police have charged a man in connection with a robbery Wednesday night at a restaurant in Kailua-Kona.

Klay Brian Bensch

Klay Brian Bensch

At approximately 10:30 p.m. Wednesday (September 11), after the restaurant had closed, an unknown man entered the premises near the intersection of Palani Road and Kuakini Highway, approached a female employee from behind, threatened her with a weapon, forced her into another room and grabbed an undisclosed amount of cash. He fled on foot in an unknown direction.

Detectives with the Area II Criminal Investigation Section continued the investigation and on Tuesday (September 17) arrested 30-year-old Klay Brian Bensch, of Kailua-Kona on suspicion of robbery.

On Wednesday (September 18), Bensch was charged with first–degree robbery, first-degree burglary, kidnapping, second-degree assault and second-degree theft. His bail was set at $29,000.

He is being held at the Kona cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Thursday (September 19).


Mealani Taste of the Hawaiian Range Restaurants and Meat Cuts Selected

The 2013 Mealani Taste of the Hawaiian Range is coming up on Friday October 4th and the restaurants and the cut of meat each restaurant will be serving has been determined.

Mountain Oyster Pateles

Mountain Oyster “Pateles” (Pasteles) from the 2012 Taste of the Hawaiian Range (No… I didn’t try them)

Would you eat a Rocky Mountain Oyster from Mauna Kea Beach Hotel?  I’ve actually put a challenge out to folks on Facebook and have raised over $200 if I eat one and them post the video of it.

Meat is not the only thing that is on display at the Taste.  You can check out the Agriculture and Educational booths that will be present here.

Here is the list of the restaurants and the cuts of meat they will be serving:

Restaurant Meat Cut
Aloha Mondays Beef Tri-tip
Blue Dragon Restaurant Beef Tripe
Café Pesto – Hilo Beef Clod
Earl’s Beef Chuckroll
Four Seasons-Hualalai Beef Oxtail
Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel Beef Heart
Hawaii Community College – East Hawaii* Ground Beef
Hawaii Community College – West Hawaii* Beef Top Round
Hilton Waikoloa Village Beef Top Sirloin
Hualalai Resort Beef Skirt
Huggo’s Restaurant Ground Beef
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beef Cheek
Kohala Burger & Taco Beef Bottom Round
Kuhio Grille Beef Top Round
Lava Lava Beach Club Beef Clod
Mahina Café Kalua Pork
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Beef Mt. Oysters
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows Feral Pork
Merriman’s Waimea Beef Eye of Round
North Hawaii Community Hospital Beef Bottom Round
Pagoda Restaurant Beef Shank
Pili Hawaii Beef Skirt
Pueo’s Osteria Lamb
Red Water Cafe Sirloin Tip
Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill Goat
Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai Beef Flank
Sandi’s Drive In Ground Beef
Sansei Waikoloa Restaurant & Kamehameha Schools Beef Top Sirloin
Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa Commercial Port
The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii Beef Brisket
Tiki’s Grill & Bar Mutton
Tommy Bahama Mutton
Town Restaurant Lamb
Village Burger Beef Flap
Waikoloa Beach Marriott Hotel Feral Pork

Big Island Police Charge Kona Man Who Was Threatening People With Knife and Assaulted Officers

Big Island police have charged a 20-year-old Kailua-Kona man in connection with what started as a report of a man with a knife threatening people at a residence on Pumehana Street in Kailua-Kona.

Garrick Scott Simmons

Garrick Scott Simmons

On Sunday (September 15) at approximately 5:13 p. m., Kona Patrol officers responding to the disturbance call, located and arrested the suspect identified as 20-year-old Garrick Scott Simmons of Kailua-Kona. During the arrest Simmons threatened and assaulted two officers. He was taken to the Kona cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigation Section continued the investigation.

During the investigation detectives determined that Simmons entered into the home of an aquaintance, a 21-year-old Kailua-Kona man, and threatened him with a knife. Simmons later illegally entered into the man’s vehicle removing items from within. Simmons fled the area and was locted by patrol officers who arrested Simmons.

During the arrest one officer suffered a concussion and sprained knee while a second officer sustained a sprained knee and abrassions. Both officers were later treated and released from the Kona Community Hospital.

On Tuesday (September 17) detectives charged Simmons with two counts of first-degree assaulting a police officer, two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening, resisting arrest, first-degree burglary, kidnapping and unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle.

Simmons was released from custody after posting $20,500.00 bail.

Sea-Level Rise Online Map Viewer Now Available for Hawaii

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a web-mapping tool aimed at visualizing potential impacts from sea-level rise in Hawai’i, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. Known as the Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer, the tool serves as a simple and easy to use but powerful planning resource for planners, public officials, coastal managers, and communities engaged in climate adaptation planning and coastal inundation preparedness.

Hawaii Climate Change Map

“Tools like the Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer can provide planners and decision makers with a preliminary look at sea-level rise and coastal flooding information,” said Jesse Souki, Director of the State of Hawai’i Office of Planning.  “Sea level rise scenarios can be integrated into land use decisions, along with other economic, social, and environmental considerations, to make wise investments in public infrastructure and ensure livable, resilient communities.”

The inclusion of the Pacific Islands into the national viewer was made possible through a partnership between the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program (UH Sea Grant), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal Storms Program and Coastal Services Center.

The map features of the tool utilize high-resolution aerial images overlain on top of elevation data, enabling users to display and visualize coastal inundation associated with differentsea level rise scenarios – ranging from zero to six feet above mean sea level. Using a Google Map as a base map, the tool highlights sea-level rise-induced coastal inundation and flooding, helps viewers visualize impacts at select local landmarks and critical infrastructure, models potential habitat migration due to sea-level rise, and offers an overlay of social vulnerability information based on population attributes like age, income, and poverty.

“This tool fills an important gap for planners and managers in Hawai‘i,” explains Dr. Charles (Chip) Fletcher, associate dean for academic affairs at SOEST and map development partner. “On a national scale, the Sea Level Rise Viewer and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer fills the need to provide planners and managers with a screening-level tool that provides a preliminary look at sea level rise impacts. With the amount of detail and options it provides, the Sea Level Rise Viewer is at the cutting edge of planning tools,” states Dr. Fletcher.

“With these maps showing community assets at risk of sea-level impacts, the discussion can begin on questions such as ‘What policy changes are necessary to prepare for future climate change in Hawai‘i?’ and ‘How shall we adapt to long-term, essentially irreversible changes in sea level?’” stresses Dr. Fletcher.

The first of a series of workshops in Hawai‘i will be held on September 19 and 20 at the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay for registered participants at the annual Hawai’i Congress of Planning Officials Conference. For information about future workshops call NOAA Pacific Services Center (808) 532-3200. For more information about the data, the modeling approach, and using the tool, visit the Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer’s support page, www.csc.noaa.gov/slr

Hawaii Island Creations Opening Two New Big Island Stores

Hawaii Island Creations (HIC) is opening two new stores on the Big Island.  One in Hilo and the other in Waimea.  Grand opening ceremonies are happening this weekend.

HIC Grand Opening