Monday, October 22, 2007

October 22 Meeting: 4th Annual Legislative Community Forum

Click here to listen.

This is one of Kokua Council's most important meetings of the year because it helps us to identify the community's priorities for the coming legislative session.

The entire extended session is available for you to listen at your computer or to download as a podcast into your iPod or mp3 player.

Each speaker is identified in the recording.


The fourth annual Kokua Council Community Legislative Forum brought together over 50 representatives of government and community organizations to discuss community needs and concerns and to share ideas for legislative action in the coming legislative session. The Forum helps Kokua Council identify those issues that should have top priority for our organization. And, finally, the Forum is a way to encourage organizations to work together to achieve common goals and objectives. Kokua Council will continue to support past issues that are still pending. The following page presents a summary of the issues presented.

We are gratified by the many favorable comments from the attendees as exemplified by the following email: “Congratulations to Kokua Council for a very successful Legislative Forum yesterday! The turnout of 50 plus interested seniors and policy makers like Representative Marilyn Lee was great. So were the presentations of the dozen plus speakers, explaining and advocating their issues. Also good to meet Ms. Pendleton, the newly appointed Director for the Executive Office on Aging. I sure hope that she takes a strong advocacy role on senior issues, and not spend so much time talking to seniors at senior centers. The senior issues have been so identified. One quick action she could take, as suggested at the meeting, is to ask the Governor to release funds, already allocated by the State Legislature, to feed the 300 plus seniors on the waiting list for meals on wheels at the Lanikila Center.” Al Hamai, President of HARA.


Rep. Marilyn Lee, Co-Chair, joint Legislative Committee on Caregiving, speaking for herself and Sen. Les Ihara, Co-Chair, Kupuna Caucus, who could not attend: 1. Financial assistance, such as cash and counseling, analyze tax credits for family caregivers and for home modification, paid family leave. 2. Fund UH Center on Aging Research and Education, Kupuna Care Program, new pilot projects, including senior citizens concierge program (Beacon Hill model); volunteer credit-banking program (time-dollar model, 3. Centralize services (Aging & Disabled Resource Center). 4. More respite care services. 5. Disaster planning program for elderly shut-ins. 6. Increased protections/investigations for the vulnerable elderly. 7. Increased consumer protections for pre-need funeral and cemetery plans. 8. Support financial sliding scale payment program for aging services. 9. Hospital discharge promotion for aging in place planning. 10. Facilitate community acceptance for care homes and adult day care programs in neighborhoods. 11. Study use of underutilized schools for adult services like day care and programs.

Barbara Stanton, State Director AARP:
1. Health care quality, affordability; caregiver support, one-stop center (ADRC), support for safety net providers and universal health care. 2.Long term care; increase community based LTC delivery options by providing training for professionals and family caregivers, expand LTC financing options, launch public awareness campaign. 3. Financial Security; build and protect retirement assets, incentives to save and invest. 4. Mobility options, pedestrian safety funding and transit oriented development plan.

Noemi Pendleton, Director, Executive Office on Aging. Has held position for 2 months and needs to build her team. There are 9 vacancies in her office. At present she is speaking to groups about healthy aging and explaining services of EOA.


Nothing solid yet, working with DOH to develop.
Comment: Very difficult to use handivan. Has no caregiver and would like more services for self care.
Rep. Lee would like to see a volunteer corps to help all seniors.
B. Stanton would like an increase in funding for support for those with no caregivers.
How can we fund Universal Health? Lee:
no proposal for funding. This will be a tight year with supplemental funding deficit.


Lyn Moku, Caregivers Coalition. Will support priorities of Joint Legislative Committee on Caregiving.

Jeanette Matsumoto, National Association of Social Workers-Hawaii, NASW. Changes to Elder Abuse law top priority to make it more inclusive—“dependent” to “vulnerable.”

Justin Wong, Hawaii State Teachers-Retirees, HSTA-R.
General support for aging services, providers, caregiving system. Improve fraud and abuse system.

Gary Simon, Legislative Committee, Policy Advisory Board of Executive Office on Aging PABEA. Create a cabinet level Department of Aging, strengthen elder abuse law, long term Care financing, universal health care, more respite care, support grandparents raising grandchildren, better transportation in rural areas.

Bruce McCullough, Hawaii Alliance of Retired Americans, HARA:
Top priority is long term care access (financing). In addition we support family caregivers/community services, reduction in prescription drug costs, and universal health care.

Jim Howell, Faith in Action for Community Equity, FACE. Tax credits for caregiving, affordable housing.

Kent Anderson, Family Promise/Partners in Care. Homeless programs, affordable housing, renovation of existing housing.

Judy Rantala, Coalition Against Gambling. Must keep gambling out of state, pressure is increasing again.

Rachel Wong, Hospice Hawaii, Kokua Mau.
Advanced care planning, risk survey to determine needs for end of life services, lengthen viable period of prescriptions.

Marian Tsuji, Lanakila Meals on Wheels. Need to be able to feed and assist 300 more seniors at a minimum.

Pamela Witty-Oakland, St. Francis Residential Community. Senior care, staying healthy at home, networking providers, senior housing.

John McDermott, Long Term Care Ombudsman: Funding for LTC Ombudsman positions on Maui , Kauai and the Big Island.

Bishop Stephen Randolph Sykes, Interfaith Alliance of Hawaii:
Hawaii National Guard be assured of sufficient and ready access to mental and medical care. Universal healthcare coverage, living wage and death with dignity.

Sarah Robinson, Funeral Consumers Alliance, Hawaii: 100% of funds collected for funeral trust to be placed in trust instead of 70%. Refunding of all interest earnings in trust to be returned to consumers when trust is cancelled. A share of the interest earnings should be transferred when with the contract is transferred to another business.

Sandy Rongitsch, Medical Social Worker. Maui(by email):Kupuna Care; Because of shrinking resources and growing numbers of elders, screen for eligibility using income and asset criteria. Change Adult Protection Law: First year; add positions and money for start up. Second year; change “dependent adults” to “vulnerable adults”. Change “abused and is imminent” to “ abused or is imminent.

Jean Aoki, League of Women Voters. Change registration to allow registration on same day as vote.

Renee Ing, Americans for Democratic Action. Universal health care.

Those interested in helping any of the organizations, please contact the speaker or call 597-8838 for contact numbers.

Ballot Results- Be Part of the Solution Forum Oct.22, 2007

33 responses listed in order of highest to fewest votes.
1. Caregiver Support (20 including 5 each for Meals and Wheels/Increase Funding for Kupuna Care)
2. Universal Health Care (13)
3. Adult Protective Services reform (12)
4. Affordable Housing (11)
5. Long Term Care Access (10)
6. Reduce Rx Costs (7)
7. LTC Ombudsman on Neighbor Islands (6), Improve Pre-need Funeral Plans (6)
8. Cabinet Level Dept. of Aging (4)
9.Health Insurance Regulation for Dental & Vision Plans (3)
10. Veterans Health Care Issues (2), Improving awareness of Hospice/ palliative care (2)

Each of below received 1 vote each but worth mentioning:

More access to mental health services, drug policy reform, daycare for disabled in neighborhoods for increased accessibility, better transportation in rural areas, pedestrian safety, workforce development.

The Board of Directors will decide on level of support for each issue at their retreat in December.