What They’re Watching: Sean Sanada

Sean Sanada is the Chief Legal Officer at Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, Oahu Region. He joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to talk about Medicaid block grants.

One of our biggest fears really would be Medicaid block grants. I mean if that kicks in, as a safety net provider of long-term care in this state, we have 80 to 90 percent Medicaid residents in our facilities. We rely on Medicaid heavily for our reimbursements. If block grants come into play, I mean it already is a struggle for us to be sustainable in our operations in providing care for the vulnerable population as it is. But with block grants I mean it’s undoubtably, the reimbursements will undoubtably go down and if that does happen, that will have a very significant impact on our ability to continue providing services. I mean the legislature has been very generous in supporting our mission, which is to care for those who cannot afford to care for themselves in a long-term arena. Bur frankly if block grants come into play, that will be automatically be placing a huge burden in addition to the burden that already exists on taxpayers and we’re trying to avoid that at all costs.

But one other point that is of particular concern to our region is that the baby boomers are coming to that age where a significant percentage will need long-term care services. And with that explosion in population and explosion of need, we’re afraid that there might not be enough facilities out there that can provide those services or that people can afford to receive those services. So that’s another concern that we do have, So I think there’s been a shift recently towards a focus on home care as opposed to the standard institutional level of care, so we’re also working on how to meet those needs in a different capacity.