Categorized | Health

Aiona, Koller distribute $8.1M to hospitals


Lt. Gov. James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr. and Department of Human Services (DHS) Director Lillian Koller have distributed more than $8.1 million in new federal funding to 16 private hospitals statewide to help defray the cost of providing charity care to uninsured and under-insured patients.

DHS obtained the money through the Congressional Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program – which resumed in 2007 after being discontinued for 13 years – thanks to the support of Sen. Daniel Akaka.

To draw down DSH federal funds, Hawaii is required to provide a state share, also called “matching state funds.” Previously, the State appropriated and released matching state funds to satisfy this requirement. However, due to Hawaii’s economic situation, releasing matching state funds this year would not have been fiscally prudent.

That is why DHS found a creative way to satisfy the state share requirement. To bring in as much federal money as possible, DHS was able to count state funding for uncompensated care at public hospitals through the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation (HHSC).

DHS is also currently attempting to obtain another $2 million or more for private hospitals through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund. This federal stimulus money is through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

During a ceremony at the Healthcare Association of Hawaii in Honolulu, Aiona and Koller emphasized the importance of helping hospitals remain financially viable so they can continue providing quality care to patients, regardless of their ability to pay.

“Despite economic challenges, we still found a way to partially offset the financial losses hospitals experience when they treat patients who lack health insurance,” Aiona said. “These funds will help our hospitals remain financially viable as health care costs rise.”

“These vital resources will help strengthen the ability of hospitals to meet the health care needs of our communities,” Akaka said. “I am proud to have restored Hawaii’s Medicaid DSH allotment so that our hospitals can continue to provide quality health care services to people in need.”

With this latest check presentation, private hospitals have received $39 million in federal and matching state funds since 2007 through the DSH program.

Private and public hospitals have also received nearly $84 million in federal-only funds since 2005 through a waiver the DHS Director obtained from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Additionally, for public hospitals, DHS provided HHSC with $21.9 million in supplemental funding last year.

This brings the total to $145 million in federal and state support for charity care at hospitals over the past five years. DHS will also provide public hospitals with another $21.9 million in supplemental funding later this year.

Prior to 2005, Hawaii hospitals had not received federal funds for charity care since 1994.

Private hospitals receiving federal monies are:

* Castle Medical Center — $461,326
* Hawaii Medical Center East — $325,449
* Hawaii Medical Center West — $393,856
* Kahi Mohala — $81,135
* Kahuku Medical Center — $24,109
* Kaiser Permanente Medical Center — $299,656
* Kapiolani Medical Center at Pali Momi — $320,901
* Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children — $1,417,684
* Kuakini Medical Center — $281,545
* Molokai General Hospital — $41,694
* North Hawaii Community Hospital — $118,198
* Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific — $109,288
* Straub Clinic and Hospital — $618,361
* The Queen’s Medical Center — $3,266,736
* Wahiawa General Hospital — $110,420
* Wilcox Memorial Hospital — $248,826

Total funding for private hospitals — $8,119,186

One Response to “Aiona, Koller distribute $8.1M to hospitals”

  1. Barb Weller says:

    "DHS obtained the money through the Congressional Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program – which resumed in 2007 after being discontinued for 13 years – thanks to the support of Sen. Daniel Akaka."

    Why is Duke Aiona patting himself on the back for this? Oh right, he's running for governor! Silly me…wait…silly Duke! I'm happy to applaud if he actually does something beneficial but to claim credit for "releasing" federal funds is ridiculous spin but hey, thanks to Senator Akaka for reviving the program!


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