Honolulu, Hawaii


RE: S.B. No. 1285

S.D. 1




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirty-First State Legislature

Regular Session of 2021

State of Hawaii




Your Committees on Human Services and Health, to which was referred S.B. No. 1285 entitled:




beg leave to report as follows:


The purpose and intent of this measure is to better serve the healthcare needs of members of the Compact of Free Association (COFA) community by implementing programs to bridge the cultural and language gaps between healthcare providers and COFA recipients.


Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission; Hawaii Primary Care Association; Hawaii Friends of Civil Rights; Papa Ola Lokahi; COFA Alliance National Network; Hawaii Coalition for Immigrant Rights; Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Hawaii COVID-19 Response, Recovery, and Resilience Team; Nations of Micronesia, Waipahu Safe Haven Immigrant/Migrant Center; and eleven individuals. Your Committees received comments on this measure from the Department of the Attorney General, The Queen's Health Systems, Healthcare Association of Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific Health, and one individual.


Your Committees find that during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Pacific Islander communities have been affected by COVID-19 at higher numbers than any other community of color in the State. COFA recipients have been particularly adversely impacted. Your Committees also find that many COFA recipients have experienced prejudice and discrimination in the healthcare system and no longer use medical facilities as a first option to treat illnesses, but rather as an option of last resort that often results in a much more severe prognosis than if the patient had received treatment at an earlier stage. To better serve members of the COFA community, your Committees also find that investing in programs to bridge the cultural and language gaps between healthcare providers and COFA recipients, as well as other communities with similar cultural and language barriers, will lead to more inclusion, reduced healthcare costs, and better health outcomes.


Your Committees have amended this measure by:


(1) Clarifying which members of the COFA community are covered by this measure;


(2) Removing the reference to "other medical facilities" so that the requirements of this measure apply only to hospitals;


(3) Amending section 1 to reflect its amended purpose; and


(4) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.


As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Human Services and Health that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 1285, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 1285, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committees on Ways and Means and Judiciary.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Human Services and Health,