Reversing course, the state Department of Health is now telling state lawmakers it won’t need to wait until July to start posting adult care home inspection reports online.

A department representative told a House committee Wednesday that it can shelve legislation seeking the extension that Gov. David Ige had included in his package of bills to the Legislature.

A law passed in 2013 required the department to post the inspection reports for adult care homes on its website starting with those inspections completed after Jan. 1, 2015. The deadline came and went, coupled with excuses as to why the 18-month lead time was insufficient.

Keith Ridley caregivers hearing for nathan

Keith Ridley of the Department of Health discusses bills concerning care homes at a legislative hearing in February. His office changed course Wednesday, saying it can start posting inspection reports online later this month.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

In February, the Developmental Disabilities Division, which oversees one of seven types of care homes, started posting its inspection reports online. There are 295 homes under its jurisdiction, with each providing care for up to two people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Now the Office of Health Care Assurance, which is in charge of the other six types of homes, says it can follow suit and start posting its inspection reports by “early- to mid-March.” The office oversees more than 1,600 facilities providing care for several thousand people in neighborhoods throughout the state.

Currently, those inspection reports can only be obtained by formally requesting the records in writing from the Department of Health, waiting up to 15 days and paying for the copies and time it takes officials to track the documents down and redact certain information.

In the days leading up to the Nov. 4 election, Ige told Civil Beat that if he won he would “ensure the law is executed immediately because seniors in adult care must be ensured a safe environment when they may be entering vulnerable years.”

That statement made it surprising to see two bills seeking an extension to implementing the law included in the governor’s package of legislation in January. But as of Wednesday, Senate Bill 1114 and its companion legislation, House Bill 945, appear to be dead this session.

Following the Department of Health’s request, the House Health Committee indefinitely deferred House Bill 945. Lawmakers effectively killed Senate Bill 1114 by not scheduling it for a hearing before legislative deadlines passed.

Civil Beat has been covering this issue since 2013. Read our previous coverage:

Feb. 18, 2015: How Much Care Home Information Should Be on State Website?

Feb. 17, 2015: Care Home Industry Uses Love Story (Again) to Loosen Hawaii Laws

Feb. 9, 2015: Inspection Reports for Some Hawaii Care Homes to Be Posted Online

Feb. 5, 2015: Ige Backpedals On Posting Care-Home Inspection Reports Online

Jan. 16, 2015: Health Department Flouts Law Calling for Online Access to Care Home Reports

July 3, 2014: Online Access to Hawaii Care Home Inspections May Be Delayed

June 7, 2013: A Mother’s Day Nightmare: Foster Home Failure?

May 22, 2013: ‘Little Voice’ Overcomes Lobbying To Limit Access To Care Home Records

March 13, 2013: Hawaii Senate Stiffens Adult Care Home Online Inspections Bill

Feb. 22, 2013: Care Home Industry Rallies Against Posting Inspection Reports Online

Feb. 16, 2013: Care Home Industry Pressures Lawmakers to Weaken Inspections Bill

Feb. 14, 2013: Care Home Advocate: Bill Will Drive Us Out of Business

Feb. 3, 2013: Adult Care Homes Under Legislative Pressure To Put Public Records Online

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