Lawmakers pass series of Kupuna Caucus bills

On Tuesday, Hawaii state lawmakers passed four Kupuna Caucus bills, aimed at supporting elder services in Hawaii. The four bills appropriate additional funds for the Kupuna Care and Kupuna Caregivers Programs, the Healthy Aging Partnership program, and a position dedicated to Alzheimer’s and related dementia services coordination.


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The series of bills includes:

HB465 HD1 SD2: This bill appropriates $8,291,390 in general revenue to the Kupuna Care Program for 2019-2021.

The Kupuna Care Program utilizes state funds to provide home and community-based support for seniors aged 60 and older in Hawaii. Kupuna Care provides services to support individuals’ basic and instrumental activities of daily living.

In a Q&A with Sen. Stanley Chang last month, the Senator describes increasing funding for Kupuna Care as one of the issues with substantial momentum this legislative session.

I think that there has been a long-term push to recognize the aging population of Hawaii,” said Chang. “The real issue here is funding. You have these elderly folks who are unable to care for themselves. We’re finding that a lot of people are leaving the workforce to care for their elderly parents or other relatives. The purpose of Kupuna Care is to help people stay in the workforce by paying for care for these elderly folks.”

This appropriation is in addition to the $9.7 million appropriated in the state’s base budget.


SB1025 SD1 HD2: This bill aims to provide additional support for the Kupuna Caregivers Program.

The Kupuna Caregivers Program was established in 2017 to provide caregivers with additional resources to help them care for their elderly family members. These support services include assisted transportation, adult day care, personal care, and respite care.

The bill appropriates $1.5 million in general funds for FY 2019-2020 for implementation of the program, and to help assist the high number of residents showing interest in the program.

The bill also directs the Executive Office on Aging (EOA) to implement a plan to maximize the number of participants in the program and adds care coordination and case management to the list of services available to caregivers.

“Currently there are 154,000 unpaid family caregivers in Hawaii who are taking care of their parents, spouse, or other relatives who need extra care,” reads the bill. “Family caregivers play a crucial role in the state’s health care system by providing long-term care to the elderly, all unpaid. However, it is imperative to ensure that the caregivers take care of themselves and have the necessary support and services to sustain their own health as well as the health of the family member for whom they are caring.”


HB468 HD1 SD2: This bill appropriates $550,000 for FY 2019-2020 to the EOA’s Healthy Aging Partnership program. The program was first established in 2003 and works to improve the health status of older adults in Hawaii through a chronic disease self-management program and a research-driven exercise program.


SB366 SD2 HD2: This bill would add $119,232 (over two years) in funding for the existing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia services coordinator position within the EOA. The coordinator is charged with coordinating public and private Alzheimer’s and related dementia services.

“It is more important than ever to protect and maintain the ability of kupuna to be healthy, live independently, and remain engaged with their communities,” said Rep. Gregg Takayama in a press release. “Every dollar that we spend on them, every person that we are able to keep out of a nursing home, saves money for all of us as taxpayers and improves their quality of life.”

The four bills have been transmitted to Governor Ige.