State contract issues lead to foreclosure process for residential care providers

Home care providers not paid

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Caring for the mentally ill or disabled patients 24/7 is no small task. It's even tougher when you aren't getting paid.

"It's very stressful for us. We don't want to be homeless and of course our residents, where are they going to go if they foreclose our house," said Lilia Fajotina, Alliance of Residential Care Administrators (ARCA) President and home care provider.

"This is the worst problem that we could encounter," said Brenda Monegas, residential care home provider.

They are two of the 27 home care providers who say they haven't been paid since November and are now facing foreclosure on their homes which would also put the patients on the street.

"How can we survive if they don't pay us for three to four months? How can we pay our mortgage?" said Fajotina.

The state doesn't have enough space to house all the mentally ill people so they contract service out. Providers say they can get up to $5,000 a month depending on the patient, some of whom have killed people but were deemed insane. The State acknowledges they're often the people no one else will care for. Yet those providers and some case managers are the ones who haven't been paid.

"It's very vague and nontransparent we ask and we just get sorry we will pay you soon but what is soon? There is no end in sight. Who can sustain a household or business with soon?" said Ron Tabbal, RN and case manager.

They say if a business were to do that they'd be sued, so why should the government get away with it?

State Representative John Mizuno is concerned. He was told the state is in a review process checking things like licensing and insurance.

"They had said since there is a new contract they have to review it but to not get paid for three or four months that's not right," said State Representative John Mizuno, (D) House Vice Speaker.

"Now it's like they abandoned them at the doorsteps of these care homes and it's just sad. So we desperately need the Governor's help. We desperately, desperately need his help," said Tabbal. "I don't see why they don't respect these care home operators or respect the case managers. Just do what you promised. We do our end of it, do your end of it."

"We apologize for any miscommunication around the changes. But even things as simple as a change of a middle name, a change in a business name, triggers a whole set of related contract requirement changes," said Mark Fridovich, Ph.D., State Adult Mental Health Division Administrator.

The state switched its contract system and any change in the providers business prompts a review. The providers needed to give any new information to the state.

"Unfortunately there have been delays. We tried to communicate. We need to do a better job of communicating around those. We want to keep each and every one of those providers," said Fridovich.

They are working on Lilia Fajotina and Brenda Monegas' cases today. So when will they all be paid?

"Cannot commit to a specific time. I will track it. We will follow through and we'll get them paid as soon as possible," said Fridovich.

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