Honolulu – Governor Neil Abercrombie today announced Beth Giesting as the Healthcare Transformation Coordinator. This is a new position, established by an executive order, and her role includes developing and implementing plans with the following goals:
· Improving the health and health care for Hawai’i’s people
· Transforming the organization and delivery of healthcare services, including payment reform, health information technology and primary care workforce
· Ensuring collaboration among government agencies, healthcare providers and health plans, and consumers
· Implementing provisions of President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
· Increasing quality and reducing costs for the state’s employee healthcare system and Medicaid programs
“Wisdom and foresight led to the establishment of the 1974 Prepaid Health Care Act and put Hawai’i at the forefront of health care,” said Governor Abercrombie at a press conference this afternoon at Kapiolani Medical Center. “Today, we need courage, creativity, and a new level of cooperation to overcome what has become a national health care crisis of massive proportions. With Beth’s leadership and the dedication of our community and business partners, I am confident that Hawai’i will be a pioneer once again.”
Giesting has been a longtime healthcare advocate on primary health care issues, particularly for the underserved groups in Hawai’i. As the current Chief Executive Officer for Hawai’i Primary Care Association, Giesting provides support and assistance to Hawai’i’s 14 community health centers. Under her leadership, the number of health centers more than doubled and now serve one in 10 Hawai’i residents. She previously served as the executive director of the Kalihi-Palama Health Center and Services Administration of the Oahu Private Industry Council. She earned her MS in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University and BA in History from Ball State University.
“Health is one issue that affects everyone in Hawai’i,” Giesting said. “We need and can have a healthcare system that encourages healthy behavior and coordinates care for better outcomes, lower costs, and improved patient and provider satisfaction. I am so excited to be working toward these goals with Governor Abercrombie and with the healthcare community.”
The Healthcare Transformation Coordinator position and an assistant are funded by a grant from the California Endowment, a nonprofit health foundation, through the Hawai’i Community Foundation totaling $300,000 over two years.
“In the healthcare community, we have long wanted leadership from the state so we can achieve our goal of improving patient outcomes,” said Dr. Ginny Pressler, executive vice president and chief strategic officer for Hawai’i Pacific Health. “The selection of Beth as the new Healthcare Transformation Coordinator will help us move toward a new direction.”
Governor Abercrombie will also bring on Dr. Thomas Tsang, Senior Advisor to the Governor on Healthcare Transformation, for this effort. Dr. Tsang will join the State of Hawai’i’s healthcare transformation leadership team in the Governor’s Office, which will also include support from key officials in the state Department of Health and Department of Human Services.
Dr. Tsang is the Medical Director of Meaningful Use and Quality at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, Dr. Tsang worked on key provisions for the Affordable Care Act on the Committee of Ways and Means in the House of Representatives and practiced internal medicine at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center in New York City.