HMSA makes Health Care Reform “Plain and Simple” for Hawaii

Approximately 230 people attended the Hawai‘i Medical Service Association’s (HMSA) Annual Membership Meeting at the Ala Moana Hotel today. HMSA President and Chief Executive Officer Michael A. Gold explained how HMSA is making health care reform a little less complicated for members, employers, and all consumers by helping them understand the changes ahead.

“It’s been a year of transformation,” said Gold. “This is the most challenging time in health care that I could ever imagine existed. We haven’t seen a change on the federal level like this for 50 years and I don’t think we’re ever going to see a change like this in the future. This is going to totally revolutionize what health care is about. That’s the position we’re in, so we’re going to move that forward, move the entire state forward.”

Lisa M.K. Sakamoto, diocesan finance officer for The Roman Catholic Church in Hawaii and chair of HMSA’s Board of Directors, discussed last year’s overall accomplishments. Achievements, which are outlined in HMSA’s 2012 Annual Report, included:

  • The launch of, a website designed to clear up the confusion and help members understand how their health plan and health care work.
  • HMSA’s success in giving members top value for their health care dollars by surpassing federal requirements for health care spending on its members.
  • More doctors and hospitals agreeing with HMSA to be paid based on the quality of care they’re providing instead of the number of services performed.

HMSA Chief Financial and Services Officer and Treasurer Steve Van Ribbink explained how health care reform and the fees and taxes being imposed by the federal government will initially increase costs. But he also explained how HMSA’s ongoing preventive care programs and hospital quality contracts are improving care and helping to offset that growth. Van Ribbink assured members that HMSA’s financial position remains strong and represents a secure base for the future of our members’ care.

Members who attended the Annual Meeting elected the newest member of HMSA’s community Board of Directors. Peter S. Ho was elected to serve a three-year term.

Ho is chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Bank of Hawaii. A native of Honolulu, he joined Bank of Hawaii in 1993, working in and managing a number of operating businesses, including commercial banking, retail banking, and trust and private client services. He was appointed president in 2008 and, in 2010, added the titles of chairman and chief executive officer. He is active in the community and serves on the boards of various other charitable and community organizations in Hawaii. In 2012, Ho was recognized as Hawaii’s distinguished citizen by the Aloha Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He was also named Young Business Person of the Year by Pacific Business News in 2003. Ho holds a bachelor of science degree (1987) and an MBA (1992) from the University of Southern California. He is also a 2008 graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

At a Board meeting after the Annual Meeting, Elliot Mills was appointed to a one-year term to fill a vacancy on the Board. Mills is vice president and general manager of Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa, where he is responsible for the day-to-day management of all resort operations. Before joining Disney, he worked in resort management for more than 20 years, most recently as general manager of the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort. He also serves as a board member for the Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children. Born in Hilo, Mills is a graduate of Saint Joseph High School. He holds a degree in travel industry management from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and completed the Cornell Hospitality Management General Managers Program.

HMSA is a nonprofit, mutual benefit society founded in Hawaii in 1938. Its mission is to provide the people of Hawaii access to a sustainable, quality health care system that improves the overall health and well-being of our state. It is governed by a community board of directors that includes representatives from health care, business, labor, government, education, clergy, and the community. HMSA is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.