Letters for Sunday, July 6, 2008

• Thanks for the freedom

• The facts about QUEST Expanded Access

• Why doesn’t DHHL step in?


Thanks for the freedom

My husband and I once again attended the Pacific Missile Range Facility Third of July celebration, and once again we said how fortunate we are to be part of this nation — to have the freedom we have, voting for a new president every four years, freedom of religion, freedom to express our ideas or complaints. We are a very fortunate country.

It takes time to find out the struggles to become this nation. You will understand that this was not an overnight decision. Our forefathers had many struggles — this country against England and then the struggles between the South and the North.

But, back to our evening at PMRF’s celebration. What a wonderful, fun evening with families with their children. I cannot say enough “thank yous” to PMRF and the Navy. Everyone was having a wonderful time laughing, and as soon as the National Anthem started it was amazing. Everyone stopped, stood up and faced the flag on the podium. My only wish is that it was not sung by one person, but that we were all allowed to sing. I get very emotional when I hear our National Anthem and am able to sing it.

Thank you again, PMRF, and your fantastic staff and all of those wonderful, dedicated military personnel for a wonderful evening.

I am so proud to be an American citizen and having the wonderful freedom that we have.

Vivian Nickerson

Lihu‘e

The facts about QUEST Expanded Access

Now that a federal judge has rejected a lawsuit filed by AlohaCare, the state is moving ahead with its newest Medicaid program, QUEST Expanded Access (QExA).

Because of the lawsuit, many people may have false impressions about QExA. Here are some facts.

• With QExA, 37,000 low-income seniors and people of all ages with disabilities — who currently navigate the Medicaid system alone — will receive, for the first time, a comprehensive continuum of coordinated care.

• They will be assisted by a team of health care professionals, including service coordinators.

• The transition to QExA will be seamless with absolutely no breaks in coverage.

• There will be easy and timely access to primary care physicians and specialists, as required in great detail under the QExA contracts.

• Clients will receive additional health services, including special programs for home-based care, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and more.

• Patient rights will be fully protected, aided by new ombudsman services, enrollment counseling and an extensive quality assurance system.

• The winning bidders for QExA contracts, EverCare and ‘Ohana Health Plan, have operated in Hawai‘i for several years, and EverCare is the state’s third-largest Medicare plan behind HMSA and Kaiser.

• All key health plan staff and most other personnel are required to live in Hawai‘i.

• Physicians and other providers will receive higher reimbursement because Medicaid rates increased on July 1 and became the guaranteed minimum for QExA.

• Doctors can use the current billing forms and avoid red tape.

Over the next seven months, the state will continue working closely with our clients, their families, healthcare providers, Federal officials and others to ensure that when QExA “goes live” in February, it will be a success from Day One.

Lillian Koller

Director, state Human Services Department

Why doesn’t DHHL step in?

One has to wonder why the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands or some angel of mercy doesn’t step up to the plate and purchase the sacred grounds at Coco Palms for the Hawaiian people. It is the perfect spot for a cultural center and seat of a reinstated Hawaiian nation; better yet, for a separate nation of Atooi.

Imagine the keiki learning the language and hula there, taro growing and fishponds created, not to mention 200 condos for Hawaiian people instead of more of same for visitors and non-Hawaiians.

One also must wonder why the Hawaiian people themselves do not demand this be done, or why the same was not done with the Kealia Kai property some years ago. Have we not learned that government will do nothing until masses of people speak with one voice and demand that which is right?

On another subject, if you want to know what the problem is, Mr. Chun, just look in the mirror. You and the other gatekeepers of our system who sit on and control the boards and commissions continue to thwart the will of the people in favor of the status quo and corporate interests.

You know as well as I do that our bloated and inefficient bureaucracy is dysfunctional. The problem is you don’t want a professional manager because you and the others in control might lose some of that very control. I invite your response.

Michael Wells

Kapa‘a

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