Monday, May 19, 2008

May 19 Meeting: Out of Sight, Out of Mind, The Most Vulnerable and Forgotten

John McDermott

Click here to listen.

Long Term Care Ombudsman John McDermott

Handouts that John distributed can be downloaded here.


The State LTC Ombudsman identifies, investigates, and resolves complaints related to the health, safety, welfare, and rights of residents in any licensed long term care facility. The Hawaii LTCO Program has 2 full-time Ombudsmen and 1 full-time Volunteer Coordinator for 8,129 beds in 503 facilities. Of those 503 facilities, 128 are on the Neighbor Islands. Presently, the LTCOP depends on trained and certified volunteers to help advocate for the residents but volunteers sometimes come and go. While the program could not exist without volunteers, volunteers are not a substitute for paid full-time staff.

For the third time, legislative bills to add 3 paid LTC Ombudsmen for each Neighbor Island were heard but did not pass. Kokua Council has testified in favor of this expansion and will do so again next year.

Too often friends' and relatives' visits to residents dwindle with time—sometimes resulting in neglect and even abuse. It is important that families remain involved.

While most care homes, nursing homes and assisted living facilities are fine, be aware of "red flags." Does the caregiver insist you call in advance before you visit? Are there other restrictions placed on your visits? Is the caregiver qualified, trained? Is there a trained, responsible substitute caregiver present at all times? Listen to the residents and pay attention to what they are saying. Too often, victims of abuse or neglect are too frightened to complain. Create a safer environment by taking the resident outside the facility so they can speak openly, freely, and without intimidation.

An audience member raised a concern about the charge of $500 a month by case managers for residents of foster homes and expanded care homes, noting many of these visits are less than an hour. McDermott explained what case management is all about and why it is a state requirement. Families and residents have the right to choose who they want as their case manager, discuss what they can expect from their case manager and negotiate a price that is fair to both sides.

Anyone wishing more information or wanting to be trained as a volunteer ombudsman, call John at 586-0100.

The audit report that John mentioned in his talk is this one:
Study To Determine the Appropriate State Agency To Oversee the Regulation of Adult Residential Care Homes and Adult Foster Homes

Monday, May 05, 2008

May 19 Program: Out of Sight, Out of Mind, The Most Vulnerable and Forgotten

Note change in date for this meeting only:

MONDAY, May 19, 2008

11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Miyama Main Hall, Harris United Methodist Church
Nuuanu Ave. and South Vineyard Blvd.
Ample parking - driveway off Nuuanu Ave.


11:30    Luncheon:  Various Sandwiches, Salad, Dessert  $5.00 donation

11:45    Welcome, Introductions and remarks, Larry Geller, President

        Legislative Report

12:00    Program: Long Term Care Ombudsman John McDermott: Out of Sight, Out of Mind, The Most Vulnerable and Forgotten.

12:30    Questions and answers

1: 00      Adjourn

The 2008 Legislature ends--How we fared

PASSED, Going to Governor for Signature

(*Kokua Council Top Priority issues)

*SB2150 Adult Protective Services    Expands the adult protective services law by extending protections to vulnerable adults.

  HB2520  Establishes a working group on to explore the provision of wage replacement benefits      to employees needing to take time off from work to care for a family member with a serious health condition.   Adding members to the working group from the Hawaii Teamsters and Allied Workers, Hawaii Family Caregiver Coalition, Kokua Council, and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

*SB2830 Omnibus Caregiver Bill. EOA to develop Cash and Counseling project. Appropriates $500,000 for Kupuna Care and $289,000 for adult residential care homes. Services will help those over poverty level stay at home.

*SB3255  LTC Planning.  Establishes LTC commission to research resources necessary to meet state LTC public policy goals and recommend program/funding mechanism that can provide these services. Appropriates $100,000 for the first year.

*HB7 I-SaveRx.  Directs Governor to establish Hawaii State participation in the I-SaveRx  drug program to provide residents with increased access to affordable drugs. Vetoed. Overridden.

SB2730 Grandparents.    Establishes a grandparent preference for out-of-home placement of children needing Child Protective Services.

SB868 EOA/PABEA  Prohibits the director of the EOA from altering, editing or withholding any work product issued by policy advisory board for elder affairs because it is inconsistent with the policy of the administration. Vetoed. Overridden.

SB156 Permanent Absentee Ballots . The bill allows a registered voter to request an absentee ballot   and at the same time to request to receive an absentee ballot permanently.

HB661 Campaign Financing Establishes pilot project for comprehensive public funding of Hawaii County Council Elections for three election cycles, beginning in 2010

HB 357 Relating to Pedestrian Safety. The bill appropriates $1 million for the Department of Transportation to conduct a pilot study to identify state and county intersections where the time to cross the intersection is insufficient for elderly and disabled pedestrians.

HB 2455  RELATING TO CAMPAIGN SPENDING. Kept cap on corporate funding.


Leahi Hospital Planning    Requesting the Hawaii Health System Corp to establish a task force to assist in developing a master plan for LTC for Leahi Hospital.  Department of Aging, LTC Ombudsmen on Neighbor Islands, Prepaid Funeral Reform, Center on Aging, at UH.

Important Dates

June 23; 35th day after end of session.  The Governor must give the Legislature notice of her intent to veto any bill presented to her after April 15.

July 8, 45th day after end of session.  Any bill that was presented to the Governor after April 15 becomes law without her signature if she has neither signed it by this date not declared her intent to veto by June 23rd.

Of Grave Concern

In the notes from March Luncheon Meeting, we quoted the speaker as saying that effective November 1, all aged, blind and disabled people on Medicaid would be transferred to a managed care plan, either AlohaCare or Ohana Care.  Actually, the State of Hawaii awarded a $1.5 billion contract to two for-profit mainland health plans, Wellcare and UnitedHealth group.

We are concerned that both of these plans are under investigation or involved in lawsuits because of long delays in payment, errors and potential fraud. Do they have providers in this state? Additionally, will our most medically fragile be required to change from physicians who have cared for them for years?