STAND. COM. REP. NO. 498
RE: S.B. No. 858
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2021
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Health, to which was referred S.B. No. 858 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to:
(1) Require the Department of Health to establish a certification process, oversight board, and reimbursement process for services performed by community health workers; and
(2) Require the Department of Health, supported by a task force of stakeholders, to provide a report to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the start of the 2022 legislative session.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from Hui Malama Pono Hawaii Foundation; Kau Rural Health Community Association, Inc.; Hawaii Public Health Institute; Kau Rural Health Community Association, Inc.; and eight individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Department of Health and three individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Hawai‘i Public Health Institute, Hawai‘i Primary Care Association, and two individuals.
Your Committee finds that Hawaii is facing a shortage of medical professionals, especially in geographically isolated and homeless communities. Community health workers help support medical practices by providing essential health education and working with social service programs, which are currently struggling to keep up with the demands placed on the behavioral health care system as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Community health workers have been underutilized and this measure would establish a pathway for certification and reimbursement for services rendered by community health workers. Your Committee notes the concerns raised in testimony that this measure, in its current form, may be premature in its establishment of the certification process, and that at this stage, the framework for that process should first be determined. Accordingly, amendments to this measure are necessary to address these concerns.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Amending section 1 to reflect its amended purpose;
(2) Deleting sections 2 and 3 of the measure, which would have established a certification process, an oversight board, and a reimbursement process for services performed by community health workers; and
(3) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
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. 858, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 858, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committees on Ways and Means and Commerce and Consumer Protection.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Health,
JARRETT KEOHOKALOLE, Chair