Adult care home operators showed up wearing matching red shirts and pushing kupuna in wheelchairs Thursday afternoon at the Capitol Building.

They helped pack the final House committee hearing on a bill that would require the state to post online its inspection reports of facilities for the elderly and disabled.

The care home industry opposes the initiative, saying it will violate privacy rights and put facilities out of business.

The industry’s lobbying this legislative session has weakened the original bill. The amended version lets the Department of Health decide if it wants to post the reports, and only the most egregious ones.

The state long-term care ombudsman, John McDermott, urged lawmakers to undo the changes made by the Consumer Protection Committee. He said the amendments only protect the industry.

“It’s one step forward and two steps back,” he said in his testimony. “It’s actually worse than the current practice which, although it’s slow and takes 10 to 15 days, at least it’s the complete inspection report and not some edited, watered-down version. Where is the transparency in doing this?”

The president of the Adult Foster Homecare Association of Hawaii had wanted additional amendments. Thelma Ortal said the law should include language for some form of appeal rights to give caregivers the chance to be heard prior to a report being posted online.

The Finance Committee, chaired by Rep. Sylvia Luke, passed House Bill 120 Thursday in its current form. It now heads to a vote before the full House.

Nathan Eagle

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