Monthly Archives: January 2009

Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu’s Doctor Recruitment and Retention Action Plan 2009 (Posted in the Hawaii State House of Representatives Blog)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Doctor Recruitment and Retention Action Plan 2009

Recognizing the mounting healthcare crisis facing our state, Representative Jon Riki Karamatsu (D41-Waipahu, Village Park, Waikele), Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has introduced a healthcare package comprised of eight bills, each addressing different issues that medical professionals have faced over the years, and cite as reasons for the increasing doctor shortage and rising cost of care in Hawai‘i.

The eight bills, collectively called the Hawai‘i Doctor Recruitment and Retention Action Plan (HI-DRRAP) 2009, cover issues ranging from a comprehensive task force study and strategic plan to the re-establishment of the Patient Compensation Fund.

Those proposals include:

* Re-establishing the patient compensation fund
*Changing the make-up and duties of the medical claims conciliation panel
*Creating a cap on non-economic damages, tax credits for physicians serving in rural areas, a tort cap for specialty doctors such as neurologists
*Amending the duties of the Hawai‘i healthcare primary incentive program
*Convening a task force to develop a comprehensive strategic plan
*Establishing an office of state coordinator of health information exchange in order to advance efforts to create a statewide health information exchange network

“Healthcare is an essential component in our society because it affects everyone,” said Rep. Karamatsu. “We cannot afford to continue losing doctors, especially for the under-served and rural areas of the state, and tort reform is not the only answer. That is why we decided to introduce such a diverse package.”

“Physicians play an important role in our healthcare system in Hawai‘i and the House Health committee is exploring a wide variety of options that support our local doctors,” said Rep. Ryan Yamane, Chair of the House Health Committee. The bills are expected to first be assigned to the House Health Committee.

In the 2008 legislative session, a tort reform measure failed to be voted out of the House Judiciary Committee.

“I’m optimistic that we will make progress on this issue in the House this year,” said Rep. Karamatsu.

Establishes a $750,000 aggregate and $250,000 individual cap on non-economic medical malpractice damages, and allows for a $3,000,000 cap on non-economic medical malpractice damages when gross negligence is involved. Also establishes caps on attorney fees.

Re-establishes the Patient Compensation Fund in the state of Hawai‘i so that the state’s healthcare providers can have stable and reasonable surcharge rates that are sufficient to fairly compensate legitimate victims of medical malpractice.

Creates a medical malpractice task force who shall review all of the various reasons that makes it difficult for doctors to be able to afford to live and work in Hawai‘i and explore alternative solutions, including those used in other states and on a national level. Requires the task force to develop a strategic plan and present it to the 2010 Hawai‘i State Legislature.

Establishes medical malpractice insurance rate caps for highly-needed specialty doctors such as neurologists and neurosurgeons.

Creates a tax credit on medical malpractice insurance rates for physicians willing to serve in rural/under-served areas in the state.

Amends the composition and duties of the Medical Claims Conciliation Panel (MCCP), increases the filing fees, allows for evidence and statements from MCCP hearings to become admissible to jury hearings and establishes a benevolent exemption prohibiting signs of sympathy from being perceived as admissions of guilt.

Revises chapter 321-1.5, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, primary health care incentive program, by adding health information technology, health information exchange and a doctor exchange database to their list of duties.

Creates an Office of State Coordinator of Health Information Exchange within the Department of Health to coordinate local efforts, identify funding sources, and integrate state health programs and eventually the National Health Information Technology Network (NHIN) for the State of Hawai‘i.

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Yesterday morning, I woke up from a dream I had about my sister Lara (6 1/2 years younger than me) and she appeared to be between 5 and 7 years old.  In the dream, I was hanging out with her.  At the ending of the dream, my mom and I dropped her off at school.  We were a distance away from the classroom, and we looked and saw her outside of the classroom waving goodbye.

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Go 4 Broke Against Time and Our Demise

When I was in high school up until my first year in college, I had three recurring dreams.  In the first dream, I am running in pitch black darkness from something chasing me.  In my second dream, I looked back and saw a big shadow chasing me and it was much closer.  In my third and final dream of the series, I tripped and fell, and a giant warrior placed a spear against my throat.  At times, I feel like “death” is like the warrior that was chasing me in my dream.  I have to do all I can now, just in case tomorrow comes sooner than I want.

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Compassion versus Discrimination

I am constantly thinking, analyzing, and strategizing on how to better our society or how to resolve some of our most controversial issues.  Every night I can’t sleep until late because of all the thoughts that are racing through my mind.  Instead of avoiding the most difficult issues, I face it head on.

Our world is filled with people that have love and compassion, however, there are many who are full of hate and discrimination.  People are constantly judging others.  We must try to eliminate or at least minimize our shallow judgments on what we see physically before us.  Body is emptiness and emptiness is body.  We need to look deeper and see or feel the soul.  The soul can radiate love and compassion, or it can radiate hate and discrimination.  Instead of judging others, we need to look within our own soul and better ourselves.  Are we radiating love and compassion or hate and discrimination?

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Racing Against Time, Part IV

In my role as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I am going to do my best to change some of the laws to bring balance.  I am also going to do all I can to resolve many of the controversial issues.  The details will be revealed in time.

Last Sunday, I shot 38 caliber and 45 caliber pistols, 38 caliber rifles, and various shotguns at the firing range.  The last time I fired guns was when I was in the Boy Scouts when I was around 13 years old (I shot 22 caliber rifles and a 9 mill. handgun).  Like lifting weights, running, strategizing and meditating, firing guns was a way for me to release negative energy sent against me from many negative individuals.  In a dream world, guns would only be used for sports such as target shooting.  However, there will alway be the duality of good and evil.  There would be less evil, if evil was not done in the name of good.  At times, “good” has no idea that it is evil.

Let’s do all we can to keep the balance tipped towards the positive.  We only have a limited time in this world.  We need to be faster than “death.”  We have to say what we need to say and do what we need to do before it catches up with us because sooner or later, it will.  We can only do the best we can before our destiny is revealed to us.

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Memories of 2008

1.  Won my fourth election to Hawaii State House of Representatives and saw U.S. Senator Barack Obama become President of the United States on November 4, 2008.

2.  My great uncle Roy Okubo, my grandma Bessie Karamatsu’s younger brother who served in the 522nd Artillery of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.  He passed away on December 2, 2008.

3.  My last conversation with Rep. Bob Nakasone before the elections.  He passed away on December 7, 2008.

4.  Bob Shimoda, a friend of my late grandpa Maurice Karamatsu who was active with Jodo Shu and Kotake Shokai.  He passed away on October 19, 2008.

5. Released my strategy for compassion and peace on 08/08/08.

6.  Several of my bills became law in the Spring and Summer of 2008: Criminal impersonation, bonds for a solar renewable energy plant, and requiring a tow truck to release your vehicle if you arrive at the scene before they move it.

7.  Being surprised with an award, the “2008 Champion of Small Business” from the National Coalition for Capital at the National Conference of State Legislatures held in New Orleans from July 22 to 27, 2008.

8.  Finished the Honolulu Marathon with my sisters Mia and Lara on December 14, 2008.

9.  Going to Okinawa with family in October 2008.

10.  Finding the strength to be at peace within myself despite the attacks from so many people such as the Republicans, dissident Democrats, media, individuals who don’t know me, and political opponents running against me.  My mistake revealed everything to me.

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Happy New Year!

I hope you had a great Christmas, and I wish you the very best in 2009!

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