Tomorrow is the scheduled last day of the 2022 legislative session. With that in mind, I wanted to send a big thank you to Nicole Pasia who leads our Hawaii health care reporting at State of Reform. She’s been steeped in political and budget conversations over the past few months and has taken the pulse of what’s happening on Capitol Hill.
If you have any story tips or ideas for Nicole, you can contact her here!
State of reform
1. Q&A: Colleen Leopoldino, HAH
Colleen Leopoldino is the new Workforce Development Manager at the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, where she works with HAH’s Health Workforce Initiative as a liaison with high school programs and other workforce initiatives. In this Q&A, Leopoldino and Janna Hoshide, HAH Director of Workforce Development, discuss efforts to strengthen the health workforce training pipeline and address the state’s ongoing workforce shortage.
HAH is particularly focused on create alternative pathways for individuals to receive education and vocational training more efficiently and transparently. They describe them as opportunities to “win and learn”. “How to do [individuals] continue to earn and learn at the same time and progress to higher education, higher degrees or post-secondary education and pursue career advancement in an employment model at the same time? Hoshide asked.
2. Lawmakers expected to approve nearly $1 billion in affordable housing funds
In the last days of the legislative session, lawmakers are ready to approve nearly $1 billion in funding for affordable housing through a series of bills. Funding includes $600 million develop housing for Native Hawaiians on the Department of Native Hawaiian Lands waiting list and $300 million for the Rental Housing Revolving Fund.
Other affordable housing funding includes $15 million to build on the Ohana Zone pilot program and provide more coordinated services and housing options. “Affordable housing continues to be the biggest challenge facing working families. The Legislature has taken bold steps to invest in many essential programs that will help mitigate the steep rise in our cost of living and continue to build housing stock for those who need it most,” the Vice said. -Housing Committee Chairman, Troy Hashimoto.
3. Report ranks Hawaii 39th in COVID response
Hawaii ranks first for health but last for economic well-being, according to a COVID-19 policy analysis from the National Bureau of Economic Research. The results show that the COVID policies that caused states to withdraw the most from economic activity “did not significantly improve health by doing so.” As an isolated island, however, Hawaii was an exception.
The report found that Hawaii had the lowest number of COVID-related deaths per capita and the lowest COVID death rate in the country. However, it also ranked last (51st) for economic performance and 46th for in-person school attendance. In total, the bureau ranked Hawaii 39th in the overall pandemic response.
4. Med-QUEST Invests $10 Million in UH Data Center
To help improve health outcomes in the state, Med-QUEST recently announced an investment of $10 million to launch Health Policy Initiative at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. HPI will assess the 1115 dispensing managed careestablish a data center with claims from all payers and other data from the Ministry of Health, and manage other pilot projects.
One of HPI’s long-term goals is to use the data collected to inform health policy decisions. “We’re hoping we get to a place where we’re building infrastructure around the systems so they’re more sustainable,” said Jack Barile, PhD, acting director of the UH Mānoa Social Science Research Institute. .
5. ALICE Initiative Cohort 2022-2024
The Hawaii Community Foundation and Aloha United Way recently announced the 17 nonprofits that make up the ALICE Initiative Cohort 2022-2024. Organizations will receive a total of $4.5 million over three years to support ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) household economic improvement programs in Hawaiʻi.
Recipients include the Council for the Advancement of Native Hawaiianswhich offers vocational training and career development, the Hawaii Home Ownership Centerwhich offers courses and other pathways to sustainable homeownership, and Feed the Hunger Fundwhich provides business development services and loans to low-income farmers, cooks and other food entrepreneurs.