In a first step to strengthen services for seniors, Governor Neil Abercrombie today signed into law one of his priority measures, Senate Bill 2779, which creates aging and disability resource centers in each county. The measure appropriates $1.4 million dollars for fiscal year 2012-2013 for the Executive Office on Aging to administer and establish those statewide centers.
"One of my Administration's goals is to address the growing kupuna population in our State. These one-stop resource centers will deliver on my promise to help our kupuna who face the challenges of aging and restricted mobility,"said Governor Abercrombie. "This initiative to ease access to services is only the start. We need to have a further and deeper conversation about long-term care."
According to the Hawaiꞌi State Plan on Aging 2011-2015, Hawaiꞌi had 263,976 adults aged 60 and over in 2008. By 2035, that population is projected to increase by 210,610 to 474,586 --a 56 percent increase. The number of people age 65 and older will increase by 78 percent. At the same time, the family-caregiver "workforce"of people ages 50-64 will shrink by 10 percent.
Other measures to assist seniors were also enacted:
SB 2320 codifies authorization to establish the kupuna care program and appropriates funds for the needs of the State's older adults and elderly population.
SB 2318 adopts the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act to ensure that only one state has jurisdiction in guardianship and protective proceedings at any one time.
On Tuesday, Governor enacted HB 2275, which was on the intent to veto list. HB 2275 establishes a hospital sustainability fee and the hospital sustainability program special fund to receive monies from the hospital sustainability fee to receive Medicaid matching funds under the QUEST Expanded Medicaid Section 1115 Demonstration Waiver. It requires the Department of Human Services (DHS) to charge and collect a provider fee on health care items or services provided by hospitals. This bill supports the Governor's health transformation initiative.
"This bill forms the basis for a private-public partnership between the private hospitals and the State,"stated DHS Director Patricia McManaman. "Under this measure private hospitals will receive an infusion of $37.3 million dollars and the Department of Human Services will benefit from $2.8 million in federal funds. Together, these funds will substantially improve the ability of DHS and the private hospitals to provide quality care for Hawai'i's residents."
Last month, Governor signed SB 2466, which establishes the nursing facility sustainability program special fund into which nursing facility sustainability fees shall be deposited.
Other Significant Measures Recently Become Law
HB 1875 implements the 2011 recommendations of the mortgage foreclosure task force, and other best practices, to address various issues relating to the mortgage foreclosures law and related issues affecting homeowner association liens and the collection of unpaid assessments. It also makes permanent the mortgage foreclosure dispute resolution program and the process for converting nonjudicial foreclosures of residential property into judicial foreclosures.
HB 2375 requires the Office of Consumer Protection to educate consumers about fraudulent activities that may be committed against homeowners who face property foreclosures, liens or encumbrances, as appropriate, and establishes criminal penalties and a mandatory fine for certain violations of the mortgage rescue fraud prevention act.
SB 2678 requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources to establish a Honouliuli park site project advisory group to develop recommendations to leverage county, state, federal and private funding for an educational resource center at the Honouliuli site.
The deadline for Governor Abercrombie to sign measures into law is July 10. For a list of measures enacted by the Governor, please visit: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/report.aspx?type=acts.