Honolulu – HB600 which would allow two private pay clients to live together in a community care foster family home (CCFFH) has hit a snag in conference committee. Currently the State allows only one private pay client in a CCFFH which means Noboru Kawamoto, a 94 year old veteran who served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II would continue to have to live in a separate home from his 88 year old wife Elaine. They are only able to see each other a couple of times a week.
Working in a concerted effort with the Department of Human Services (DHS), the Department of Health (DOH), and the Senate and House conference committee chairs they were able to craft final language for HB600. Some of the language agreed upon includes making the effective date upon approval, providing that DOH will create rules to address possible concerns with Medicaid bed space as it relates to married couples who are private pay, and to remove the sunset date. However the Kawamoto siblings are worried that the bill will die and that their parents will continue to live apart from each other.
“I defended my country in WWII and we fought against discrimination and won, and today I am fighting for the right to live with my wife of 67 years.” Said Noboro Kawamoto. “What country or State would deny my right to live with my wife? Certainly not the State and country I defended.”
“After WWII I met Noboru and we have never been apart until now.” Said Elaine, Noboru’s wife. “I do not know why we cannot live together. I just want to be by my husband’s side. I do not know how much longer we have.”
The Kawamoto’s son Norman says “I am extremely concerned that HB600 may not pass into law and thus not allow my Mother and Father to live together in the same community care home. It was my understanding that the Department of Human Services and Department of Health put a lot of time and effort in crafting the language of this bill with the lead House and Senate Chairs during conference. Therefore, we are so worried that without the passage of HB600 Mom and Dad will not be able to live together. We have always been a close knit family. My Mom and Dad really miss each other very much being separated. There is nothing complicated about it; they simply want to live out their days together. They enjoy the basic things in life: watching TV together, singing songs together. The passage of HB600 will allow them to return to the life they have always enjoyed. How could the lawmakers not pass this?”