$30,424,456 in Legislative Funding in 2021
Hawai'i State Hospital Funding
In 2021, I was successful at advocating for $5,000,000 in additional funding for the Hawai'i State Hospital. This money will go towards the hospital's chillers and kitchen improvements, as well as the Stabilization and Mental Health Crisis Unit. I visited the new facility recently and saw the impressive work that has gone into this important resource for our community. I am looking forward to the positive change that this new facility will bring to Kāne’ohe and our state.
Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology Funding
The Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) is such an important part of our community. In 2021, I was able to help secure almost $400,000 in the State Budget to fund essential positions and research at HIMB. On a recent visit to HIMB, I was able to learn about the history, programs, and research at Moku o Lo‘e (also known as Coconut Island). Currently, HIMB is on the cutting-edge of vital research to help save corals and other marine life from environmental devastation, due to events such as coral bleaching. Saving our coral reefs are essential to preserving our ecosystems and ensuring the sustainability of fishing in our islands. Coral reefs also protect our coasts from waves, storms and floods, and help to prevent the loss of life, property damage, and erosion. The coral research conducted in Kāne‘ohe Bay helps to preserve and protect our beautiful community. For more information, please visit: himb.hawaii.edu.
Rep Kitagawa visited HIMB in May of 2021
This important piece of legislation addresses disposal, recycling, or secondary use of clean energy products in our State, such as photovoltaic and solar water heater panels. This bill appropriates funds for the Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute, in consultation with the Department of Health, to conduct a study to determine best practices for clean energy products, which are expected to be discarded in our landfills in large quantities in the coming years due to product lifespan. Thank you to community member, John Reppun, for proposing this idea at a Kahaluˈu Neighborhood Board meeting and supporting the measure as it moved through the legislative process.
Relating to APRNs and PAs
It is apparent that Hawai'i's health care system is in crisis due to the severe shortage of physicians in the State. In response, many people within the health care system have acknowledged the potential for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and physician assistants (PAs) to assist in increasing the supply of health care providers, especially for the neighbor islands and rural areas in the State. Studies show that APRNs and PAs are competent and able to perform many health care procedures that physicians perform. It is my hope that the resolutions below that I introduced and that passed out of the Legislature will help to address this important issue.
HR 99 - Access to Healthcare Working Group: This resolution requests the Board of Nursing and Hawai'i Medical Board to convene a working group to determine the gaps in access to health care and the potential role advanced practice registered nurses may play in addressing these gaps.
HR 100 - APRN and PA Analysis for Scope of Practice: This resolution requests the Legislative Reference Bureau to conduct an analysis of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and physician assistants (PAs) to establish a foundational framework for the scope of practice for APRNs and PAs in Hawai'i.