Problems at Hawaii State Hospital brought before special committee

A special senate committee has been holding hearings on problems at the Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe. After Tuesday’s hearing, committee chairman Clayton Hee said he is optimistic about the hospital’s future.

The Kaneohe facility has had its share of problems in recent years. The special senate committee is preparing a report to address and hopefully correct those problems.

The committee report is expected in two weeks.

“We give the administration another two weeks to review, make comments, give us their input on what they’re doing to improve the system,” said State Senator Josh Green, “and then we’d like to release a final report (on either) October 22nd or 23rd, when we have the special session.”

“It remains to be seen when the report comes out, if the recommendations and the problems that have occurred are addressed,” said State Senator Sam Slom. “That’s the important thing, always, and not to just talk about them, but to make sure that the problems are solved.”

The committee found out Tuesday that some whistle blowers believed they had been targeted for reporting certain problems, including lack of security at the facility.

Ryan Oyama, a psychiatric technician, said he’s been out of work for a year because of a conversation with his supervisor. “Basically, she said that she could have me off the unit, fired in one day. I would lose my job.”

Nurse manager Candace Sullivan replied that “I believe he wanted to tell me that he felt a little guilty about talking to the news, because he didn’t even need to tell me that.”

Despite those comments, Hee said “it seems to me the state hospital will improve. There’s been substantial changes made since the hearings began, and right at the top, there’s a new administrator on board who has a wealth of knowledge from (working on) the mainland. ”

When asked if increased funding for the hospital would help, Hee said “it’s difficult to improve any state facility without funding sources involved.”

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