Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    S.B. No. 665




Honorable Donna Mercado Kim

President of the Senate

Twenty-Seventh State Legislature

Regular Session of 2013

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Health, to which was referred S.B. No. 665 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to appropriate funds to address the shortage of primary care physicians in the State through a comprehensive primary care workforce development plan that addresses the critical areas of health care provider loan repayment, diversity programs, and primary care workforce expansion.


     Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the John A. Burns School of Medicine, The Queen's Medical Center, Hawaii Medical Association, Papa Ola Lokahi, Hawaii Academy of Family Physicians, Hawaii Pacific Health, and sixty-one individuals.  Your Committee received comments on this measure from four individuals.


     Your Committee finds that Hawaii has a shortage of physicians compared to similar populations throughout the United States.  Studies of the physician workforce in Hawaii demonstrate extreme shortages of primary care specialties, most notably in rural areas.  Rising demand on the health care system in Hawaii due to population growth, aging, and the prevalence of chronic disease calls for an increase in the existing physician base.  Access to a personal physician has been shown to decrease morbidity and mortality while controlling health care costs through early detection and careful management of chronic disease and deferral of unnecessary hospital admission and emergency room visits.


     Your Committee further finds that physicians tend to remain and practice where they train.  If bright medical students leave Hawaii to train elsewhere, they are less likely to return and practice in Hawaii.  Strong evidence suggests that if medical school and residency are completed by medical students in Hawaii, eighty-five percent of those medical students will remain and practice as physicians in Hawaii.


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Health that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 665 and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Health,