5 Things Hawaii: Art Ushijima, FMAP drop, Hale Ola

We are now about 13 weeks away from our 2020 Hawaii State of Reform Health Policy Conference!  I know that seems like a ways off, and it is… But not if you are working to line up 60+ speakers at the event!  It’s what we’re just getting started with now. So, it’s a good time to make suggestions about topics, speakers, or sessions as we finalize our Topical Agenda. Send us your ideas – we’d welcome reading them…!



With help from Emily Boerger


1. Q&A: Art Ushijima, Queen’s

Art Ushijima is the President and CEO of the Queen’s Health Systems and is considered by many to be one of Hawaii’s most influential and consequential health care leaders. Last summer, Ushijima announced his retirement after 30 years at Queen’s.

In anticipation of his retirement in January 2020, we spoke with Ushijima to reflect on his career, discuss his guiding leadership principles, and look ahead to trends on Queen’s horizon. “An important lesson is that engaging stakeholders can create solutions. And I say solutions, because there’s no one solution… It’s about building those connections that enable you to serve a societal need.”


2. Convening Panel tees up annual conference

Last week, our Convening Panel for the 2020 Hawaii State of Reform Health Policy Conference got together to talk through the topics, conversations, and speakers for our upcoming event. This year’s conference will take place on January 14th at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

You can review the Discussion Guide from our meeting for a sense of the topics teed up for you in January. You can expect the Topical Agenda to be released soon, so if you have ideas for sessions or speakers, now is a good time to let us know what you think we should include!

3. FMAP drop could create $10m shortfall

On October 1, the new FY 2020 FMAP percentages kicked in, resulting in a rate reduction in 17 states. FMAPs are calculated based on a formula that provides higher reimbursement to states with lower per capita incomes compared to the national average. In Hawaii, the FMAP decreased by .45 percent – dropping from 53.92% to 53.47%.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Hawaii’s Medicaid spending in FY 2018 totaled approximately $2.26 billion. Based off those numbers, a .45% FMAP drop creates a shortfall of about $10.17 million over the previous year. This isn’t news: these numbers are released in November for the following October. But that means we find out next month what the hit could mean for next year’s budget ask.

4. Hale Ola pilot program

A key focus of Hawaii’s QUEST Integration Medicaid Managed Care RFP is increasing the level of care coordination for enrollees. One new component of this effort is Hale Ola – Hawaii’s specialized health homes pilot concept.

The Hale Ola will combine community care teams with health homes to provide care coordination services — such as physical and behavioral health integration — to individuals with complex health care needs. Health plans will be charged with monitoring and oversight, facilitating partnerships, and will pay the Hale Ola based on payment methodology developed by DHS. We breakdown the requirements of the pilot here.


5. Moves among health care leaders

There are a few noteworthy moves among Hawaii health care leaders. Dr. Leslie Chun, chief medical and quality officer at The Queen’s Medical Center, announced he will be leaving Queen’s to join the Hawaii Pacific Health (HPH) Medical Group as its new CEO at the end of October.

Joining AlohaCare is Kealoha Fox, PhD, who takes the role of Liaison/External Affairs for Public Policy. The Hawaii Medical Association recently elected Michael Champion, MD, as their new Chair of the Board. And, MDX Hawai’i recently honored the inimitable Scott Miscovich, MD, with their Excellence in Kupuna Care Award.