3 Sep 2009

Micronesians in Hawaii won't lose out on kidney dialysis

7:47 am on 3 September 2009

Micronesians in Hawaii will continue to receive kidney dialysis treatments once the state shifts them to a new, more limited health care coverage plan.

The new cost-saving plan, known as "Basic Health Hawaii," went into effect yesterday. Pregnant mothers and children are excluded.

Advocacy groups for Micronesians said the new plan would cut kidney dialysis treatment for about 100 patients, and chemotherapy for 130 to 160 cancer patients.

The Honolulu Star Bulletin reports the groups held sit-ins in the governor's office last week and yesterday to call attention to their cause.

But Hawaii Human Services says the state has now identified a source of federal funds to cover dialysis treatments as an emergency service, without added cost to the state.

The state will receive about US$1.5 million annually in Medicaid reimbursements to fund dialysis.