Posted on June 5, 2018 by Chapter Staff
Originally Published in HAPTA’s e-Newsletter, What’s HAPTAnin’ – June


The 2018 Hawaii legislative session ended earlier in May. Here’s an update about some of the priority legislation that HAPTA followed and wants to let you know about.

Bills That Passed

It’s now a felony to injure a healthcare worker. We have all heard stories about therapists getting kicked, punched or injured by patients. HB1906 makes it a second degree felony assault to intentionally injure a healthcare worker. Previously, this was a misdemeanor. Although the law doesn’t take effect until July 1, 2035, this timing is meant to increase discussion about this topic.

New opioid warning labels will be required. Starting on August 1, 2018, HB1602  requires that there be a warning label on opioid prescription drugs to say “Caution: Opioid. Risk of overdose and addiction.” HAPTA provided testimony in support of the movement to fight the growing epidemic of opioid addiction.

Sorry, PTs won’t be included in the preceptor tax credit.  SB2298 provides a preceptor tax credit for registered nurses, physicians and pharmacists for taking on a student of an in-state program in order to incentivize taking on students – but PTs were not included in the final version of the bill. After numerous HAPTA testimonies in a coordinated effort with Kapiolani Community College’s PTA program, physical therapists and physical therapist assistants were included in some of the versions of the bill but were ultimately removed due to concerns about cost. On the bright side, after discussions with Legislators, there may be an opportunity for PTs and PTAs to be added in the future.

Bills That Didn’t Pass

The future of telehealth is…on hold. SB2891 would have established a telehealth pilot programs, on in a rural location and one in an urban location. It failed to make it out on the last day of the legislative session.

Continue to be patient for delayed worker’s compensation payments. SB2364 was meant to pay healthcare providers for their services even when a worker’s compensation claim is “pending investigation.” Some PTs wait months for their worker’s comp payments. Unfortunately this bill failed to make it out of conference committee.

Joanne Zazzera
HAPTA Legislative Committee Chair