Governor David Ige signed House Bill 1911 into law on Friday, which gives Hawaii Department of Health the right of entry to investigate any care facilities that are reported for operating without a license or certificate.
"This stops right it in its path.. all these illegal un-certified care homes," Mizuno said.
The law is intended to ensure that the roughly 2,000 licensed and certified community care homes , serving 13,000 elderly and disabled in Hawaii are protected, with proper licensing and certification requirements by the State Department of Health.
"It's important to remind everyone that there are regulations, there are standards there are qualifications that they have to have in order to engage in this Business in the state of Hawaii," chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health, Senator Rosalyn Baker said.
Rep. Mizuno says he introduced House Bill 1911 after finding out that some of the legitimate care home operators we're giving up their licenses to provide illegal underground care. Some, which he adds have avoided inspections.
"Without a bill like this how can you complete with an unlicensed care home.. Who is not paying any taxes, doesn't have a criminal background check, doesn't have liability insurance--can do what they want-- can have basically 10 to 20 people if they want to. That would've devastated the industry, so this was an important bill for the caregiver industry," he said. "Two words.. consumer protection."
Violators of the law may be found guilty of a misdemeanor and can face a of $100 per day for the first violation and $1,000 for the third violation.
"The key is that it is going to be a criminal misdemeanor and if they get that on the record, and can't get that off they're done. They will probably never be able to practice care giving again," Mizuno added.
In addition, the law penalizes providers who knowingly refer or transfer patients to the unlicensed facilities.