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Judy Mohr Peterson

The Med-QUEST Division of the State of Hawai’i Department of Human Services has appointed a new Administrator in July Mohr Peterson, Ph.D.

Dr. Mohr Peterson is a nationally-recognized leader in Medicaid, health care transformation, and Affordable Care Act implementation. She will begin her work in Hawai’i on July 1.

Since September 2009, Dr. Mohr Peterson has served as Oregon’s State Medicaid Director. In her role, she built the structure of Oregon’s successful health system transformation and coverage expansion. She increased local community and primary care through coordinated care organizations. These organizations reduced emergency department visits and hospitalizations for chronic conditions for Medicaid clients.

HMSA-bldA doctor's primary professional obligation is to his or her patients, not to the patients' insurance companies. It's one thing for an insurer to encourage doctors to refer patients to other physicians in its network as a way to control costs, but quite another for it to require those doctors to emphasize financial concerns.

The Hawaii Medical Service Association, the largest health insurer in the state, seems to have crossed that line with a new contract it has imposed on its participating physicians, doctors who accept HMSA's determination of eligible charges as full payment for medical services rendered and who have little choice but to accede to HMSA's demands given the nonprofit's dominance in the Hawaii market.

The-GMO-battle-heats-up

After their surprise and stunning victory against Monsanto and the big agrochemical companies in the Maui ballot initiative in November 2014, the Center for Food Safety and the entire anti-GMO, anti-pesticide movement decided to pursue their policy agenda aimed at environmental health and safety with initiatives that establish pesticide buffer zones around schools and hospitals in Hawaii and require notification disclosure of restricted-use pesticides near sensitive populations.

In fact, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii island all have passed legislation at the county level that regulates the seed industry, but the federal courts assert that it is the state government, not counties, that holds this power. The result is tumultuous legislative activity at the state level.

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii for the first time will be providing round-the-clock pediatric care at the state-owned Maui Memorial Medical Center.

KP-Honolulu clinicMore than a half-dozen Maui pediatricians recently announced they were going to resign staff privileges at the hospital, effective May 1, because of the difficulty in running an office practice and covering the hospital.

"It's hard working at the hospital and running an office practice," said Wesley Lo, Maui Memorial's chief executive officer. "Attending all these births and emergencies disrupts continuity of care, economics and lifestyle. It's a quandary for me because we are facing unprecedented deficits. I was faced with entering into a contract (with Kaiser) that increased my costs but covers the community. We're really grateful that Kaiser stepped up to the plate."

Members who received out-of-state care may be affected by the theft at Anthem

HMSA-bld

An estimated 18,000 current and former members of the Hawaii Medical Service Association had their personal information stolen during a cyberattack on Anthem Inc., a Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan that serves residents in 14 states.

HMSA, the state's largest health insurer, said in a post Monday on its website that the number of affected members could increase as it determines whether 2,000 unknown names in Anthem's database are or were HMSA members.

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