Mike Buck hosts Rep. Fukumoto Chang on the Mike Buck show Monday, April 18, 2016

Mike Buck spends Monday morning with Hawaii House of Representatives Minority Leader Representative Fukumoto Chang (Mililani Mauka, Mililani) discussing the status of Marsy’s Law in the legislature, police enforcement policies, rail accountability, special funds, and homelessness.

Contact: repfukumoto@capitol.hawaii.gov
Audio Only

Hawaii Is Safe, But We Shouldn’t Be Complacent

civil beatApril 25, 2016

By Gene Ward

Missiles in North Korea, cyberattacks and the possibility of terrorist shooters springing up in our midst all provide ample reason to be prepared.

It is not often this isolated jewel we call home — situated in the middle of the Pacific — becomes synonymous with anything other than sun-drenched beaches and abounding aloha spirit. But it is in part this very thing, the seclusion, that has led some experts to ponder whether Hawaii is really safe.

Three recurring events remind us of our vulnerabilities, the first being cyber threats. According to Todd Nacapuy, chief innovation officer for the State of Hawaii, we are hit by millions of cyber attacks per day. Our banks, utilities and military installations are the prime targets and remind us that knocking out our power grid or financial systems is the new normal of modern warfare, and it is going on around us 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The second recurring danger is North Korea’s continual probe into the Pacific basin. Between January and March of this year alone, North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test and released a propaganda video called “Last Chance (America).”

Should Hawaii take this threat seriously? According to Adm. William E. Gortney, commander of the U.S. Northern Command, in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee last month, “We watch (North Korea) very carefully. And, you know, their very long range capability is a function of how far do they reach. … So even from their own waters, they can reach part of our homeland. Hawaii is part of our homeland, and they can reach Hawaii.”

Last week, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard joined with other members of Congress to discuss “the clear and present danger of North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons capabilities and the missile defense the United States has in and around the Pacific to best defend the United States of America and its 300 million people,” according to the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance.

The third threat has been the most visible in the rest of the world, but not here in Hawaii.

Terrorism since 9/11 has been motivated by fanatical ideological and religious fervor that threatens everywhere in the world, including Hawaii. With large soft targets of our 8 million tourists each year, plus any attack, however small, at any of our military facilities would have huge symbolic value for an enemy who wants all of America to cower in view of its recent successes in Paris, San Bernardino and the Brussels airport.

At a recent meeting in East Honolulu, a panel of counterterrorism experts from the FBI, Homeland Security, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Honolulu Police Department stated that Hawaii is protected by a coalition of more than 20 federal, state and local organizations that work together on a daily basis. The Honolulu Police Department stressed that we should all know what to do in the event of an active shooter (see this excellent training video by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department) recalling the “Xerox Killer” of 1999 who shot and killed seven people in his office on Nimitz Highway.

In the end, panelists concluded that, yes, Hawaii is safe, but warned us not to become complacent. If you see something, say something. If it’s credible, we were told to call the FBI at (808) 566-4300 or HPD at (808) 723-8581.

Knowing that we are under daily cyberattacks in Hawaii or that we’re vulnerable to North Korean missiles or that an active shooter could appear in our midst is not a cause for fear. But they provide a sober suggestion that we be prepared and not scared.

About the Author

  • Gene Ward
    Rep. Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai, Kalama Valley) is a Vietnam veteran and former presidential appointee as a senior democracy officer in the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Patients Caught In The Crossfire Of HMSA’s ‘War On Doctors’

civil beatApril 26, 2016

By Cynthia Thielen

 Patients Caught In The Crossfire Of HMSA’s ‘War On Doctors’

HMSA is harming patients with its war on doctors. This year, the state’s largest health insurer yanked doctors’ previously earned ability to order medical tests without pre-approval delays. This month, it’s changing doctors’ pay. In essence, the less time and tests that a doctor gives patients, the more money the doctor gets.

HMSA’s new payment system replaces the fee-for-service structure that reimburses doctors based on the types of medical services rendered and the number of visits. The new system even rewards physicians with financial bonuses for healthier patients who require less medical care.

So the squeeze is on for caring, skilled doctors and consequently, HMSA’s 720,000 member-patients. The new compensation system is called capitated payments. Some might call it decapitating patients’ rights or crippling doctors, and HMSA’s comments to the contrary are appalling.

Capitation pays doctors a fixed rate that apparently falls between the general range of $20 and $80 per patient per month in a practice – whether or not a patient visits the doctor. Money-wise, the best scenario is healthy patients who don’t visit the office because sicker patients who require more time, care and expensive tests may lead to the doctor’s practice spending more money than it receives.

The danger is that the financial reality could be to limit complicated patient cases because it might take just one patient with a serious illness to bankrupt a medical practice.

The American College of Physicians website says, “Capitation payments are used by managed care organizations to control health care costs. Capitation payments control use of health care resources by putting the physician at financial risk for services provided to patients.”

What doctor who truly wants to help people can survive in a cancerous capitation-payment system? When capitation was previously tried in Hawaii, its malignancy caused local medical groups to hemorrhage significant financial damages. Presently, some doctors are already succumbing to the pressures of capitation by walking away from their practices.

Really, HMSA?

With capitation metastasizing among HMSA’s 3,000 in-network doctors, what chance is there that new or experienced physicians from outside of Hawaii will come here to practice medicine? This includes our state’s own keiki, who are completing their residency in the mainland, hoping to return home to practice. There is no incentive, no livelihood and no hope if this assault on the healing profession continues to escalate.

Hawaii is lucky to have a wise, respected and much older community in its midst. Add to that the baby boomer generation, aged 52 to 70 in 2016, who are the highest adult users of health care services. Our need for more – not less – highly skilled practicing doctors is obvious.

Many doctors are speaking loud and clear about being thrust into a position that could lead to hurting patients due to an insurance company’s bottom line taking precedence over people’s well-being. HMSA needs to go back to the drawing board in its newly renovated multi-million-dollar building with lavish bathrooms and find better solutions. Rethinking its budget appropriations for new construction would be a start. Perhaps members could pay adjustable monthly premium rates to HMSA – based on patient satisfaction. That’s our cost-containment, our bottom-line priority and our best interest.

As one practicing doctor recently sarcastically lamented to my office, “I will be happy when the insurance companies not only make all the rules for practicing medicine, but also are liable for the results.”

 headshot dec 2011

 About the Author

Rep. Cynthia Thielen is a member of House committees on Judiciary; Energy and Environmental Protection; Water, Land and Ocean Resources; Housing; and Consumer Protection and Commerce. She is also a member of the Women’s, Keiki, and Kupuna caucuses.




Death of Tax Excess Revenues

The disposition of tax excess revenue will be the death knell of Hawaii’s tax payers. Hawaii ranks as the highest taxed state. The unfunded liabilities and debt bonds of our State falls burden once again upon tax payers. SB2554 proposes an amendment made in the 1978 Constitution Convention.

To read the wording of this bill and to track its progress click here: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure…

We’d like to hear from you! Feel free to call 586-6420 or email Rep. Ward at repward@capitol.hawaii.gov

Excerpt from the House floor provided by Capitol TV.


Rep. Thielen questions A&B on the Hemp Bill SB 2659

Representative Cynthia Thielen (Kailua, Kaneohe Bay) questions the Alexander & Baldwin spokesman on provisions in the bill regarding Hemp farming.

Description:  Establishes an industrial hemp pilot program to allow the cultivation of industrial hemp and distribution of its seed in Hawaii through limited activities by licensee-agents of the board of agriculture for purposes of agricultural or academic research. Appropriates funds for department of agriculture staff to assist in the pilot program.

From the Honolulu Advertiser:  “In written testimony for SB 2659, Mike Moran, president of the Kihei Community Association,  said the measure could ultimately provide relief to Maui after the closure of Hawaii’s last sugar plantation.”

The House Finance committee passed the bill with no amendments.

Contact: repthielen@capitol.hawaii.gov  Except from Capitol TV

Mike Buck hosts Rep. Fukumoto Chang on the Mike Buck show Monday, March 28, 2016

Mike Buck speaks with Hawaii House of Representatives Minority Leader,  Representative Fukumoto Chang (Mililani Mauka, Mililani) about state and national elections, state audits, social media, and the  Hawaii State Capitol website at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/house.aspx

Contact: repfukumoto@capitol.hawaii.gov   Mike Buck speaks with Hawaii House of Representatives Minority Leader, Representative Fukumoto Chang (Mililani Mauka, Mililani), about state and national elections, state audits, social media, and the Hawaii State Capitol website: capitol.hawaii.gov.

Contact: repfukumoto@capitol.hawaii.gov
Audio Only

Audio Only