Health-E-Bytes: the Health State

July, 2006

Hawaii, Not Always the “Health State”

According to the 2006 publication, “Health Trends in Hawaii,” Hawaii’s health status is worse than that of the United States as a whole in a number of areas:

Susan Forbes, president and chief executive officer of the Hawaii Health Informa-tion Corp., which compiles the “Health Trends” report every other year, says the Web site,, is now being updated regularly. Says Forbes, “By being able to look at changes over time, differences between groups and whether something is preventable and treatable, you can come up with a plan of action.”

Where Hawaii’s Health Stats Lag Behind the U.S. Average
Infant Mortality 7.3 6.9 Deaths per 1,000 live births
Chlamydia 438.8 301.8 Cases per 100,000 population
Tuberculosis 9.4 5.1 Cases per 100,000 population
Motor Vehicle Fatalities Due to Alcohol 53.4 40 Percent of motor vehicle fatalities
due to alcohol
Youth Drug Use 14 11.4 Percent of youth drug use, ages 12-17
Measles 1.5 0 Cases per 100,000 population
Mumps 1.0 0.1 Cases per 100,000 population
source: www.


Emergency: C-

Hawaii earned a C- in the first national report card on the state of emergency medicine released earlier this year. Hawaii ranked 34th overall among states in the American College of Emergency Physicians’ (ACEP) National Report Card on the state of emergency medicine.

The news wasn’t all bad. Hawaii had its bright spots. It ranked second in the nation for board-certified emergency physicians per 100,000 people. Hawaii was also fifth for the percentage of adults aged 65 and older who received a flu vaccine in the last 12 months.According to the ACEP, Hawaii has a shortage of hospital space and trained professionals. It ranked 41st among states for the number of registered nurses per 1,000 people, 45th for trauma centers per 1 million people and 51st for annual payments per fee-for-service enrollee in Medicare.

The ACEP’s recommendations are for additional registered nurses and emergency departments. It also recommends that the state raise funds for new trauma centers and strengthen caps on noneconomic damages for liability cases.

Business and the Bird Flu

By now, we’ve seen enough end-of-the-world and flu flicks to scare some of us into jumping when someone starts sneezing. The Hawaii state Department of Health has online information and resources regarding preparations for a possible pandemic of Avian Flu on its Web site at One of the slides says it’s not a matter of if, but when. The presentation includes a checklist for businesses.

  • Plan for potential business effects (including critical personnel, materials, logistics; effect of restrictions and emergency communications)
    • Protect employees and customers, with guidelines for prevention and how to account for absences and special needs
    • Establish effective policies for absences, flexible working conditions and prevention
    • Allocate resources, including infection-control supplies, communications and information technology and access to health care
    • Communicate with and educate employees
    • Coordinate with external organizations


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Kelli Abe Trifonovitch