STAND. COM. REP. NO.2881
RE: H.B. No. 2521
Honorable Robert Bunda
President of the Senate
Twenty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2002
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Health and Human Services, to which was referred H.B. No. 2521, H.D. 2, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO CONTROL OF DISEASE,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose of this measure is to enable the Department of Health to respond rapidly and efficiently to emerging health problems before they develop into catastrophic health emergencies.
Testimony in support of this measure was received from the Department of Health (DOH) and Healthcare Association of Hawaii. Testimony in opposition was received from the Consumer Lawyers of Hawaii.
Your Committee finds that current law grants the DOH the necessary powers to deal with a health emergency that results in a declaration of disaster by the Governor. However, your Committee acknowledges that there are gaps in the Department's authority to deal with serious and potential catastrophic situations before they reach the disaster level. This measure would:
(1) Enable the DOH to form partnerships with health care facilities and providers to plan for and deliver services under circumstances where the Department's existing resources are inadequate;
(2) Update and reform the quarantine laws to provide due process to potentially contagious individuals the Department might seek to isolate from the public;
(3) Allow the DOH to sequester or isolate contaminated items or materials to protect the public from toxic or infectious substances; and
(4) Enable disease investigators to obtain critical information to determine the cause and limit the impact of disease outbreak.
Your Committee finds that in light of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and the potential threat of bioterrorism, this measure is needed to ensure the safety of our citizens and the State.
Your Committee has amended this measure, as requested by the DOH, to substantially restore language deleted or amended by the House Committee on Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs when it made technical changes to the measure. Your Committee finds that these technical changes either effected substantive changes or created uncertainty in the language. Therefore, your Committee has:
(1) Amended language to clarify that the wilful misconduct exception to immunity from liability applies to health care facilities and providers, not to the State or political subdivisions;
(2) Amended language to clarify the State's intent to implement a quarantine that respects individual dignity to the greatest possible extent, but is consistent with disease control objectives;
(3) Amended language to clarify under what conditions quarantine is considered to be the least restrictive means of protecting the public's health, safety and welfare; and
(4) Deleted language setting forth the State's policy on the use of quarantine, to avoid redundancy and confusion with another similar provision in the measure.
In addition, your Committee has made technical, nonsubstantive amendments to the measure to reflect preferred drafting style.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Health and Human Services that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 2521, H.D. 2, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 2521, H.D. 2, S.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Judiciary.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Health and Human Services,
DAVID MATSUURA, Chair