STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2307
RE: S.B. No. 2342
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2020
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Human Services, to which was referred S.B. No. 2342 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO THE KUPUNA CAREGIVERS PROGRAM,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to amend, from thirty to twenty, the total amount of hours per week an individual must be employed to be a qualified caregiver under the Kupuna Caregivers Program and to appropriate funds for the proper implementation of the Kupuna Caregivers Program.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Policy Advisory Board for Elder Affairs; one member of the Maui County Council; Maui County Office on Aging; United Public Workers, AFSCME, Local 646, AFL-CIO; International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 142; Hawaii Family Caregiver Coalition; AARP Hawaii, Kokua Council; Alzheimer's Association, Aloha Chapter; Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice; Children's Action Network; Faith Action for Community Equity; and thirty-four individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Executive Office on Aging.
Your Committee finds that as of July 1, 2018, the United States Census Bureau estimated that 18.4 percent of Hawaii's population was sixty-five years or older, and with projections of an increase to 19.4 percent in 2020 and 23 percent by 2030, caring for Hawaii's kupuna is a high priority to the State.
Your Committee further finds that 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. Family caregivers play a crucial role in the State's health care system by providing long-term care to the elderly, and do so 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 person for whom they are caring.
Your Committee notes that to address this issue, the Kupuna Caregivers Program was established on July 6, 2017, and aims to provide working caregivers with additional resources to cover a variety of support services such as adult day care, assisted transportation, homemaker services, and many more important services to qualified kupuna. The program ensures that caregivers continue earning their own retirement benefits, which helps businesses retain experienced workers and provides peace of mind that loved kupuna are well cared for while caregivers remain in the workforce. This program allows caregivers who are juggling their own employment with their caregiving responsibilities to simultaneously take care of their kupuna and themselves.
Your Committee also notes that since the establishment of the Kupuna Caregivers Program, the Executive Office on Aging has reportedly received hundreds of calls from Hawaii residents wishing to receive the benefits of the program. While the creation of the program was an important first step, your Committee believes that the program requires additional fourth year funding to have the impact it needs. Your Committee also finds that appropriation for the Kupuna Caregivers Program is a priority of the Ige Administration. With the high volume of residents showing interest in the program, the current funding needs to be increased in order to better serve the people of Hawaii.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Human Services that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2342 and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Human Services,
RUSSELL E. RUDERMAN, Chair