STAND. COM. REP. NO. 3851
RE: H.B. No. 1635
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2022
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Commerce and Consumer Protection and Ways and Means, to which was referred H.B. No. 1635, H.D. 2, S.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH CARE,"
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to:
(1) Establish the Rural Health Task Force within the Department of Health to prepare and develop solutions and make recommendations on registered nurse recruitment and retention in rural areas of Maui, Molokai, and Lanai; and
(2) Require the Rural Health Task Force to submit a report of its findings, recommendations, and any proposed legislation to the Legislature prior to the Regular Session of 2023.
Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from Hana Health; Lana‘i Community Health Center; The Queens Health Systems; Hawai‘i Primary Care Association; Molokai Ohana Health Care, Inc., dba Molokai Community Health Center; Maui Chamber of Commerce; and Liberty Dialysis – Hawai‘i. Your Committees received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Department of Health.
Your Committees find that, since 2019, the State has experienced more than nine hundred nurses leaving the workforce due to the pandemic, costs of living, and the lack of affordable housing. This shortage has especially impacted rural communities. Depending on traveling nurses is not always practical and can result in over-working an already small pool of nurses. Maui's rural areas in particular are faced with unique challenges in attracting and retaining registered nurses, yet these places are often ones that require consistent and well-skilled nurses the most. Nurses for clinics, hospitals, and specialty settings are critically needed to maintain public health in rural communities. This measure will help develop tangible action steps to assist with recruitment and retention of registered nurses in East Maui, Lanai, and Molokai.
Your Committees note the concerns raised by the Department of Health in its testimony that it is not the appropriate department to house the Rural Health Task Force established by this measure. Accordingly, amendments to this measure are necessary to address this concern.
Your Committees have amended this measure by:
(1) Requiring the Rural Health Task Force to be established within the Center for Nursing for administrative purposes, rather than the Department of Health;
(2) Replacing the Director of Health with the Chairperson of the Advisory Board for the Center for Nursing to serve as chairperson of the Rural Health Task Force;
(3) Requiring that, to inform the assessment required by this measure, the Center for Nursing engage professionals from the University of Hawaii Maui College nursing program, as well as Maui Health Systems and Kaiser Permanente, for input on the plans, solutions, and recommendations developed by the Rural Health Task Force;
(4) Clarifying that the Rural Health Task Force shall submit a preliminary report of its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the Legislature prior to the Regular Session of 2023, and a final report to the Legislature prior to the Regular Session of 2024;
(5) Clarifying that the Rural Health Task Force shall cease to exist on July 1, 2024;
(6) Making it effective upon its approval; and
(7) 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 Commerce and Consumer Protection and Ways and Means that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 1635, H.D. 2, S.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 1635, H.D. 2, S.D. 2.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Commerce and Consumer Protection and Ways and Means,
DONOVAN M. DELA CRUZ, Chair
ROSALYN H. BAKER, Chair