STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2373
RE: S.B. No. 3117
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. 3117 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO HOMELESSNESS,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to extend the emergency department homelessness assessment pilot program and medical respite pilot program to December 31, 2021, and appropriate funds.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Governor's Coordinator on Homelessness, The Queen's Health Systems, Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, and three individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Human Services.
Your Committee finds that the State has one of the highest rates of homelessness per capita in the nation, and there is a clear connection between health care and homelessness. Since 2018, the Department of Human Services has contracted with the Queen's Medical Center (Queen's) to administer the emergency department homeless assessment pilot program and medical respite pilot program. In fiscal year 2019 alone, there were 3,035 emergency medical transports and 1,341 Honolulu Police Department transports to Queen's, translating to a $21 million cost to Medicaid and $14 million in cost of care to Queen's.
Your Committee further notes that the Queen's Care Coalition was able to identify homeless patients with high utilization of emergency department services and deliver short‑term, post-discharge navigation services to special populations to reduce reliance on acute care by connecting patients to community services.
Your Committee finds that the emergency department homelessness assessment pilot program has demonstrated positive results in delivering care coordination services, by a multidisciplinary team, to mitigate the number of unnecessary emergency department visits by patients experiencing homelessness or patients at risk of experiencing homelessness and merits continuation. Additionally, your Committee finds that the medical respite pilot program has demonstrated positive results in delivering medical respite services for eligible individuals experiencing homelessness by providing services such as meals; case management; and medical, nursing, and psychiatric care and merits continuation.
Your Committee finds furthermore that the Department of Human Services supports the continuation of both programs and is in the process of transitioning the program from the homeless program office to the Med-QUEST division. Given that the pilot program's funding ends on June 30, 2020, additional financial support is necessary to ensure no lapse in resources for the emergency department homelessness assessment pilot program and medical respite pilot program, as they are transitioned to the Med-QUEST division.
This measure therefore:
(1) Extends the emergency department homelessness assessment pilot program and medical respite pilot program to December 31, 2021; and
(2) Appropriates funds for the pilot programs.
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. 3117 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