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In brief | Big Island & State, 07-27-14

July 27, 2014 - 12:05am

Genevieve continues to lose strength

Tropical depression Genevieve continued to weaken Saturday and was expect to become a remnant low pressure system by Sunday.

The system, located about 1,200 miles east-south of Hilo, was moving west at 8 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 35 miles per hour on Saturday evening. National Weather Service forecasters gave a small chance of the low regenerating in a few days as it encounters more favorable upper-level conditions in the Central Pacific.

Another weak low pressure area within an elongated surface trough was about 600 miles south of South Point.

Only a few, isolated and disorganized thunderstorms remained near this low, according to the NWS. Environmental conditions also appear to be becoming less conducive for development of this system as it continues to move westward at about 10 miles per hour this weekend.

DHS floats new Medicaid program

The Department of Human Services Med-QUEST Division is launching a more patient-centric Medicaid program to better serve clients. QUEST Integration effectively combines and replaces the QUEST and QUEST Expanded Access programs.

“The benefits of QUEST Integration include more health plan choices for aged, blind or disabled individuals, and a greater ability for a beneficiary to remain with the same health plan upon turning 65 or developing a disability,” said Kenny Fink, MQD Administrator. “Additionally, eligible beneficiaries will gain expanded access to home and community based services to prevent decline to institutional level of care.”

QUEST Integration also reduces administrative burden by creating a single managed care program, according to a press release from DHS.

The health plans participating in QUEST Integration are AlohaCare, Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA), Kaiser Foundation Health Plan (Oahu &Maui only), Ohana Health Plan and UnitedHealthcare Community Plan.

Transmission line upgrades on Highway 190 finished

The transmission line upgrades along Highway 190 from the Waikoloa Junction to Puuanahulu are completed, according to the Hawaii Electric Light Co.

The project involved upgrading transmission lines and equipment to improve system reliability. It was “completed ahead of schedule,” HELCO stated.

For more information, call 969-6666.

By local sources