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Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed several health-related bills Thursday as the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs unveiled an online service for insurance agents to file general liability and workers compensation coverage information for contractors and pest control operators.
Here’s a look at the bills Ige signed.
House Bill 1343 (now Act 210) appropriates funds to establish a Business Recovery Center within the Department of Defense. The bill appropriates $328,000 in state funding with a federal match of $1.16 million. The center is a website where businesses and government agencies collaborate and coordinate information and resources before, during and after a natural disaster, according to the governor’s office.
House Bill 589 (now Act 211) establishes a state stroke data registry and requires hospitals to report stroke patient data. Through this registry, the state’s acute stroke hospitals will collect a uniform data set based on their stroke patients and will submit the date to the State Department of Health. The data will help identify weaknesses in the state’s stroke care system and work to improve the system’s response to and quality care of stroke patients, according to the governor’s office.
House Bill 10 (now Act 214) authorizes Department of Education employees to volunteer to be trained to administer and oversee the administration of insulin, glucagon or other medication and assist with blood glucose testing if needed. This will improve the ability of diabetic students to manage their diabetes in school and at school-related activities, according to the governor’s office.
House Bill 467 (now Act 212) requires birthing facilities to screen newborns for critical congenital heart defects using pulse oximetry prior to discharging infants from the hospital or birthing center. Pulse oximetry or pulse ox is a simple, non-invasive, inexpensive test in which sensors are placed on the infant’s hand or foot to check blood oxygen levels. The test takes a few minutes and costs under $5 and can identify infants with this defect before symptoms develop. Hawaii is the 42nd state to require this testing, according to the governor’s office.
House Bill 174 (now Act 213) requires insurance coverage of orthodontic treatment for orofacial anomalies (cleft palate surgeries). Also known as Anya’s Law, the medical insurance benefits of up to $5,500 will be required for orthodontic services for individuals under age 26, who are born with orofacial anomalies, most commonly a cleft lip and palate, according to the governor’s office.
State lawmakers applauded Ige for signing HB 174, introduced by Rep. Gregg Takayama, into law.
Rep. Della Au Belatti, House Health Committee chair, said it’s crucial to correct these defects, not just for visual appearance, but because this condition affects basic functions such as eating, chewing, speech and breathing. The complicated treatment to correct these kinds of birth defects usually requires multiple surgeries ranging from about $5,700 to $20,000 or more, according to a House release.
In Hawaii, approximately one in every 500 babies is born with what is called an orofacial anomaly, according to the House. Between 2007 and 2012, 61 babies were born with a cleft lip or palate and 83 were born with other craniofacial defects at the Kapiolani Medical Center.
The measure has been called “Anya’s Law” after one of its active supporters, 6-year-old Anya Maga, who testified for the measure along with her parents, who are residents of East Honolulu, the House release says.
The State Legislative Auditor reports the cost to all policyholders would be minimal – probably increasing premiums by two cents to four cents per member per month, based on the experiences of California and Massachusetts, according to the House.
The new service for insurance agents is available at pvl.ehawaii.gov/inikua. DCCA’s Professional and Vocational License Division receives hundreds of insurance certificates weekly via fax and mail, which can take up to three weeks to process. Insurance agents are encouraged to use this new online service to drastically reduce the processing time to three to five business days, according to a DCCA release.
Insurance certificates issued through leasing companies and non-Hawaii licensed providers are currently not accepted through this system and must continue to be submitted via hard copy to PVL. The division continues to work on expanding this service to accommodate all submittals, the release says.