Heartland Institute Cites Grassroot Criticism of Hospital Irregularities

Heartland Institute Cites Grassroot Criticism of Hospital Irregularities

With the revelation that employees of Hawaii’s State Hospital System were manipulating the rules governing overtime in order to increase their pay, it is clear that there is a great need for broad reform. The Heartland Institute recently ran an article on the issue including commentary from the Grassroot Institute. Read the excerpted quotes below or go here to read the article in its entirety. A federal court order is being ignored so union members at the Hawai’i State Hospital can manipulate work rules to boost their pay, according to Hawai’i State Senate investigative committee report released in October.   The report also cites hospital management for nepotism and retaliation and points to unsafe working conditions resulting in employees being assaulted by psychiatric patients—almost all of whom are criminals ordered there by the courts.   With a debt load amongst the nation’s highest, Hawai’i can ill-afford this kind of profligacy, said Keli’i Akina, president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawai’i.   “The mismanagement of Hawai’i State Hospital is a critical problem for patients, hospital employees, and taxpayers,” Akina explained. “The situation reflects a lack of best practices in managing public worker benefits and collective bargaining agreements.”   The hospital employs over 600 union members and numerous additional contract workers, costing over $52 million out of the state’s general fund to look after an average of 200 patients.   The average cost per patient per day is $657.97 compared to $304 to $425 per day at a South Carolina facility to which Hawai’i has sent especially difficult cases.   ….   The overtime practices at Hawai’i State Hospital were supposed to be changed after a 1996 federal court ruling, but the order has...
Video: SHOPO President talks to Grassroot Institute

Video: SHOPO President talks to Grassroot Institute

Responsible for representing one of the largest police unions in the nation, the president of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers Tenari Ma’afala tells Dr. Akina that his role is more than a negotiator of contracts.  Ma’afala says he is called to be a model of good character and a true servant-leader.  Despite his emblems of authority, including a badge, rank and weapons, Ma’afala insists that the most important resource he has is his love for other people, whether the men and women on the police force or those individuals who must apprehended and arrested.  One measure of the stress that police officers face, according to Ma’afala, can be seen in the fact that less than 350 officers are routinely on duty on Oahu at any one time to monitor and protect an island community with a population of over 1 million. Ma’afala describes leadership that is willing to go above and beyond to serve uniformed and civilian members of Hawaii’s police forces who daily face extreme stress which impacts their lives and their families.  View the entire interview...
Dr. Akina Interviewed on Hawaii News Now

Dr. Akina Interviewed on Hawaii News Now

Recently, Dr. Keli’i Akina, President of the Grassroot Institute, was interviewed on Hawaii News Now about the shocking revelations regarding the high salaries of some of the state’s union leaders.  “These are tough economic times,” Dr. Akina says.  “Both union wage earners and non-union wage earners feel it deeply, and it’s at times like these that leaders just have to be accountable to their stakeholders.” Watch the entire segment...
President Price Hike

President Price Hike

By Tom Giovanetti, President of the Institute for Policy Innovation The “right” price for anything is the price that results from the interaction between supply and demand in a functioning marketplace. There’s nothing controversial about that—it’s how anyone with the most basic understanding of economics understands price. Governments often cannot resist meddling with prices. Typically, when a government intervenes in a market to manipulate prices, it is trying to keep prices lower than the “natural” market price for some political purpose. Economists recognize this as almost always harmful—artificially low prices make that particular economic commodity unattractive for producers to invest in production. And the economic distortions created by artificially low prices usually result in economic harms that exceed whatever perceived social benefit might have been obtained from lower prices. The Obama administration, however, has been unusual in that, when they have intervened in markets, they’ve made prices higher for consumers. In health care, Obama forged ahead with his plan to transform the healthcare system even though many economists warned that it would drive up health insurance premiums,which it has. New mandates on what doctors must do and what health insurers must cover, such as free contraception, increase the cost of health insurance. And layering additional taxes on medical devices raises the price of those devices to patients. In energy policy,  it was the stated goal of the Obama administration to raise the price of energy, both of electricity and motor fuels. “Under my cap and trade plan,” Obama said in 2008, “energy prices will necessarily skyrocket.” He further said that his plan was designed to bankrupt coal-fired energy plants, and at...

Grassroot Perspective: The Continuing PLDC Saga, Hirono on Judiciary and Susan Rice Withdraws From Nomination

A weekly liberty briefing and news guide to keep you informed and prepared on what’s UP to more freedom or DOWN to bigger, more intrusive government. Quote of the Week: “Small business is the gateway to opportunity for those who want a piece of the American dream … that’s where miracles are made, not in Washington, D.C.” –Ronald Reagan   LOCAL NEWS Money, power and moral hazard: Is Hawaii’s Public Land Development Corporation above the law? (TWTC, 12/11) Many people in Hawaii are wondering just how an organization with such broad sweeping powers as the Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC) was able to clear the Legislature in 2011. Exempt from taxes and regulations and even able to issue revenue bonds all on its own authority, the PLDC is perhaps one of the most controversial organizations to ever be created in the State of Hawaii. I was very fortunate to interview with Hawaii State Representative Jessica Wooley – a legislator who was one of only nine who voted against the PLDC – to get a better understanding of just what happened behind the scenes and where the system failed on Act 55. Rep. Wooley mentions in our interview that “When this bill passed, the legislative hearing process itself was rife with abuse and public input was bypassed. The irony could not be worse. There was no public input on the elimination of public input. Major new language appeared in the House amendment of the bill. There was only one opportunity for the public to comment on many substantial changes, including the county zoning, subdivision, and permitting exemptions. Notice to the public of that single...