Tsukiyama got promoted, big time

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by John Charlton

(Nov. 18, 2009; 9:30 PM ET) — Mr. Paul T. Tsukiyama, ex-Director of the Office of Information Practices (OIP) in Hawaii has been appointed Vice-President & Director of Human Resources at Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.

The Post & Email broke the story on Nov. 16th at 7:30 PM ET, that Tsukiyama, who held a crucial role in handing the complaints of citizens against the Hawaii Department of Health, for the latter’s refusal to divulge public information regarding their operations and handling of the Obama vital records affair, had quietly resigned his position in that office.

Now The Post & Email can report that Tsukiyama got promoted, “big time”, from overseeing and office of 4 lawyers, to managing in a key position the personnel at one of the major corporations in Hawaii, the quasi-governmental agency which oversees 5 public hospitals and 9 public medical centers/facilities.  The corporation is controlled by a foundation known as the Hawaii Health Systems Foundation.  The latter’s governance section is styled the Hawaii Governance Academy of the Governance Institute, evidently on account of it being a quasi-governmental agency.

Hawaii Health Systems Corporation (http://www.hhsc.org/) describes its mission as “Providing and enhancing accessible, comprehensive healthcare services that are: Quality-Driven, Customer-Focused Cost-Effective.” It advertises itself further as:

A public benefit corporation and the nation’s fourth largest public hospital system, the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation (HHSC) is governed by a 13-member Board of Directors whose responsibility is to develop policies, procedures, and rules necessary to plan, operate, and manage the hospitals.

These public facilities, managed by Tsukiyama’s new employer, are as follows:

Maui Memorial Medical Center
Kula Hospital
Lanai Community Hospital
Hilo Medical Center
Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home
Hale Ho’ola Hamakua
Ka’u Hospital
Kauai Veteran Memorial Hospital
Samuel Mahelona Medical Hospital
Kona Community Hospital
Kohala Hospital
Leahi Hospital
Kahuku Medical Center

That 13 member Board of Directors of Hawaii Health Systems Corporation contains some familiar names:

HHSC Corporate Board of Directors at July 1, 2009

AINSLEY, Howard N., CEO, East Hawaii Region, (Ex-Officio)
CHUMBLEY, Avery B., (Maui)
FUKINO, Chiyome L., M.D., (Ex-Officio)
GREENIA, Earl G., CEO, West Hawaii Region, (Ex-Officio)
HYDE, Mark G., Esq., (Maui)
LEE, Vincent H.S., CEO, Oahu Region, (Ex-Officio)
LO, Wesley P., CEO, Maui Region, (Ex-Officio)
NAKEA, Clifford L. Esq., (Kauai)
VANCAMP, Carol A., (East Hawaii)
VIDGEN, Richard J., (West Hawaii)
WALKER, Jerry A., Jr., CEO, Kauai Region, (Ex-Officio)

Dr. Chiyome L. Fukino is the Director of the Hawaii Department of Health, the very organization which Mr. Tsukiyama had the duty of brining the complaints of citizens against and resolving issues regarding the Department of Health’s non-compliance with Hawaii “Sunshine” laws on transparent, open governance.

It can thus be wondered at, if Fukino got Tsukiyama his new, obviously more important job, to “get her off her back,” or to reward him for something.  One thing is for sure, the office of the former director is now telling concerned citizens that the back log of work prevents them from responding to complaints, some of which have been sitting unaddressed for more than 6 weeks.  The previous response time was 2 weeks.

Fukino was featured a number of previous reports at The Post & Email, in particular in our spotlight report which covered her background and career history.

The Post & Email had difficulty tracking Tsukiyama down, because his former office of 4 employees was not “sure” what position he took, the Governor’s office said they’ve “never heard of him”, and the Office of Constituent Services gave us the phone number of the Hawaii Attorney General’s office, saying that it was a Human Resource Department phone number (the two numbers differ by 3 digits) — which was perhaps an error to give us a little hint that our inquiry did not please someone, or at least to log our phone number in the AG’s phone database, to put us on a watch list of overly curious citizens.

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