Saturday, May 23, 2015
Kaneohe Neighborhood Board Urges Governor To Intervene For Elderly Couple
The Kaneohe Neighborhood Board has approved a resolution urging Gov. David Ige to help an elderly married couple live together in a local care home.
The resolution asks the governor to intervene in an issue that the 2015 Legislature was unable to resolve. House Bill 600 would have allowed couples like Noboru and Elaine Kawamoto to use their own funds to live in a state-subsidized care home. The Kawamotos, who have been married 67 years, do not qualify for Medicaid but are willing to pay for their care from their own funds.
State law prohibits subsidized care homes from accepting more than one private-pay client from a family at a time. Unfortunately, the House bill did not receive approval and was carried over to the 2016 Legislature.
WHEREAS, Noboru and Elaine Kawamoto, a married couple, want to live together in a Community Care Family Foster Home (CCFFH) of their choice; and
WHEREAS, current State of Hawaii regulation limits a CCFFH to three residents, two of whom must be Medicaid recipients; and
WHEREAS, that requirement prevents a private pay married couple from living together in the same CCFFH, and HB600 will allow for a married couple to live together in the same CCFFH; and
WHEREAS, this bill, HB600, was already passed into law in 2009 as a demonstration project, it was passed into law as SB190 on April 22, 2009; unfortunately it had a sunset date attached so it expired in April, 2011; and
WHEREAS, SB190 was a successful demonstration project that allowed a Hilo couple to live out their years a Community Care Family Foster Home of their choice; and
WHEREAS, the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services support this measure along with both conference committee chairs; and
WHEREAS, HB600 did not receive a release from Finance and/or Ways and Means Committee; and
WHEREAS, HB600 is still alive and is carried over into conference committee for the 2016 legislative session and is expected to pass out of conference committee; and
WHEREAS, the passing of SB190 proves that this act did not jeopardize the receipt of any federal aid, nor did this act conflict with any allocation of any federal funds to the State of Hawaii; and
WHEREAS, marriage is a fundamental right and no law should separate a married couple; and
WHEREAS, Mr. & Mrs. Kawamoto should have the option of living together in a Community Care Family Foster Home; and
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board No. 30 strongly urges Governor David Ige of the State of Hawaii to step in and request that the
Department of Health act administratively to provide a waiver or exception to Mr. & Mrs. Kawamoto and the care home of their choice, allowing them to reunite and live out their lives together; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this resolution be transmitted to the Honorable Governor David Ige, Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi, Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland, Representative Dee Morikawa, Representative Ken Ito, Representative Jarrett Keohokalole, and Senator Jill N. Tokuda.
Adopted by the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board No. 30 on Thursday, May 21, 2015.
Mo Radke, Chair