5 Things Hawaii: 1115 Waiver Update, Med-QUEST Adult Dental, Heidar Thordarson

Our Convening Panel had great conversations this week about the issues most impacting the future of Hawaiian health care as we begin to organize for our Hawaii State of Reform Health Policy Conference on January 15, 2019. We are always looking to build an engaging and diverse complement of speakers to drive the conversation forward, so if there is anyone you would love to hear from, let us know!  In the meantime, here are 5 Things We’re Watching in Hawaii health care.

DJ 5 Things Signature


1.  1115 waiver application submitted, re-procurement RFI released

DHS submitted its revised 1115 waiver extension application to CMS on September 14th.  The re-submission included several new comments centered around themes of continued integration to address behavioral health and the social determinants of health, the transition to value based payments, increased care coordination, and community-based health reform initiatives.

Shortly after submitting the application, DHS released an RFI to guide the re-procurement RFP expected to drop in early 2019, for a January 2020 contract start. The RFI seeks stakeholder input on plans to advance the objectives of the new HOPE initiative in alignment with the overarching framework for Quest Integration procurement. Responses are due by 2:00 p.m. HST on October 20, 2018.


2.  AlohaCare and ‘Ohana Health Plan add basic adult dental to Med-QUEST plans

Med-QUEST health plans AlohaCare and ‘Ohana Health Plan announced they will add adult dental coverage beginning January 2019. The plans will invest around $1 million to provide the addition coverage, providing a distinct advantage to attract enrollees in the Med-QUEST Annual Plan Change period which is open from Oct. 1-31, 2018.

Low-income Hawaiians are 30 percent less likely to have seen a dentist within the last year, found a 2015 Oral Health Report, leading to the disproportionate use of the emergency room to address dental health issues. The additional coverage marks an effort to promote overall Med-Quest patient wellness and to drive down costs of overuse by addressing oral health. LIBERTY Dental Plan will manage the dental network for both health plans.

3.  Video: Heidar Thordarson, Castle Medical Center

Heidar Thordarson is the Chief Financial Officer at Castle Medical Center. He joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss improving efficiency and quality.

“The culture [at Castle] is all about taking care of the patients and being a family-atmosphere… it creates a culture where it’s not just getting the patient in and out the door as quick as possible, but it brings them in, takes care of them, makes them feel special. That philosophy and that culture drives everything else in the whole hospital.”

4. Report shows pronounced health disparities in transgender youth

The Hawaii Department of Health released and update to its Hawaii Sexual and Gender Minority Health Report focus on transgender youth last week. The report showed transgender youth are the subject of stress and trauma at a much higher rate that their cisgender counterparts. With overall less support from their families and peers, transgender youth are far more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as smoking/vaping, alcohol abuse, and drug use and are seven times more likely to attempt suicide.

Transgender youth are less likely to engage in healthful activities like getting adequate nutrition, sleep, or exercise, or having regular health check-ups. The reportconcludes by recognizing the strength and resiliance of the transgender community, but suggests the state should place a stronger focus on prevention and early intervention programs in this population.

5. Convening panel shaping HI conference

Planning for the 2019 Hawaii State of Reform Health Policy Conference is well underway! Last week, our Convening Panel met to continue our agenda setting process. It was a great conversation of diverse voices who shared what topics in health care and health policy in Hawaii are capturing their attention.

We’re taking their ideas and creating our Topical Agenda, which will be released in the coming weeks. If you have any ideas for topics or speakers on key health care issues of the day, drop me a note and let me know. And, if you want to join us on January 15th, register now to take advantage of our early bird rate!