Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    S.B. No. 2384

       S.D. 1




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Twenty-Eighth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2016

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health, to which was referred S.B. No. 2384 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to require the Department of Health to conduct unannounced visits and relicensing inspections for state-licensed care facilities and medical marijuana dispensaries.


     Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Health, State Council on Developmental Disabilities, International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 142, and one individual.  Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from fourteen individuals.


     Your Committee finds that the Department of Health is responsible for licensing, certifying, and monitoring several types of facilities, including care facilities and medical marijuana dispensary facilities, to ensure a standard of quality.  This measure requires the Department to conduct unannounced visits and relicensing inspections for state-licensed care facilities and medical marijuana dispensaries.  According to testimony from the Department of Health, the Department prefers that relicensing or recertification surveys be unannounced in order to maximize the effectiveness of the inspections for these care homes or dispensaries.  These unannounced visits will be consistent with all other relicensing inspections of health care facilities under the regulatory responsibility of the Office of Health Care Assurance and are an important safeguard for the public.


     Your Committee has heard the testimony from some care home operators expressing concern that the care home operators may be negatively impacted by the unannounced inspections or visits, especially if the care home operators are not at home when the Department of Health arrives to conduct a survey.  Your Committee notes these concerns but, after speaking with the Department, concludes that many of these concerns are unfounded.  According to the Department, the Department recognizes and understands that care home operators have many responsibilities and cannot always remain in the home.  However, if the Department stops by for an inspection or visit and the primary caregiver or homeowner is not home, any patients in the care home must be left in the care of a secondary caregiver.  This secondary caregiver will be able to answer any of the questions that the Department may pose, and the primary caregiver's or homeowner's unavailability will not otherwise negatively impact the results of the Department's survey.


     The Department indicated to your Committee that if the Department encounters something during a survey that may be out of compliance, the health care facility operator has the ability to respond to and dispute any Department findings.  In general, health care facility operators and the Department agree on a plan of correction.  The Department testified that it has never closed a facility due to the inability of a health care facility operator to fix a deficiency.  Your Committee was reassured after the testimony and discussion with the Department and finds unannounced inspections and visits are an important aspect of consumer protection for patients in the State's care facilities.


     Finally, your Committee notes that according to the Department of Health, certain care facilities under the responsibility of the Department are certified, rather than licensed.  Amendments to this measure are therefore necessary to reflect this distinction.


     Your Committee has amended this measure by:


     (1)  Clarifying that the Department of Health shall conduct unannounced visits and relicensing or recertification inspections for state-licensed care facilities; and


     (2)  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 Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2384, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2384, S.D. 1, and be placed on the calendar for Third Reading.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health,