Lawmakers probe allegations of overtime abuse, staffing shortage at Hawaii State Hospital

The investigation continues into allegations of misconduct at Hawaii State Hospital.

The Senate special investigative committee reconvened to hear testimony regarding the safety of workers and allegations of bad behavior from the administrative level.

The focus Thursday was on possible overtime and sick leave abuse, including allegations that staff members coordinated when to call out so others could rack up extra hours.

Debbie Kaopuiki Ono is a clerk in the nursing office. She estimated roughly 20 to 25 employees constantly abused the system.

“This is the ruling at the state hospital. You can complain about someone and what they do, but it’s not your business where it goes. You’re not told ‘Oh, we took care of it. We did this.’ That’s not your business,” Ono told lawmakers.

Another issue is shortage of staff. A former psychiatric technician was injured trying to help restrain a patient who was an MMA fighter. The incident led to severe injuries to her and several other workers.

“I strongly believe I got hurt because of shortage of staff and I believe that whoever was the supervisor on that night shift to fill up that staffing on the day shift is the reason why I got hurt,” said Emelinda Yarte.

The committee will continue to meet to discuss issues brought up in Thursday’s hearing.

blog comments powered by Disqus