By Robin Pilus
HB 160, which appropriates moneys from the State of Hawaii’s general revenues for Kupuna Care, will be heard by the Hawaii State Legislature Health Committee on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 10 a.m.
This bill appropriates an additional $2.96 million from the general revenues, in addition to the $4.85 million that is already in the base budget.
According to the executive office on aging, the elderly population in Hawaii is one of the fastest growing in the country. Between 1990 and 2000, the number of persons aged sixty and older increased by nineteen per cent, compared to a nationwide increase of nine per cent.
Significant issues that arise with elderly people include health status, changes in family structure (caregivers), social security stability for the future, fear of health care burdens (financial stability), and changes in public responsibility.
The Kupuna Care program was established in 1999 as a collaborative effort by several agencies in Hawaii to address the needs of the aging population and the issues arising from those needs.
Kupuna Care is considered to be an alternative to the traditional long‑term care options. The goal of Kupuna Care is to give Hawaii’s elderly population access to affordable and quality home- and community-based services that are client-centered and family-supportive, allowing the elderly to live with independence and dignity.
In 2008, thousands of elderly people were served by Kupuna Care. According to the state program report for fiscal year 2008 as prepared by the executive office on aging, 3,277 meals were delivered to homes, 1,744 elders were served by case managers, 874 elders used personal care, and 597 elders used the homemaker services.
Public comment or testimony on HB 160 can be submitted through 4:00 pm on Monday, February 14, 2011 at Testimony.