Red-tape heartbreak


POSTED: Saturday, March 14, 2009

They vowed to spend the rest of their lives together. But a technicality in a state law is forcing an elderly Big Island couple to live apart.

Sidney and Terry Kaide, married for 63 years, are in separate community care foster family homes because the law only allows two Medicaid clients and one private-pay client to be in the same residential care home. Both Sidney and Terry Kaide are private-pay clients.

But the head of the Department of Human Services hopes to get the law changed to make an exception for the Kaides and other couples in the same situation.

Senate Bill 190, Senate Draft 1 is scheduled to be heard 8 a.m. Monday before the House Human Services Committee at the state Capitol in Room 329.

Since 2003, Sidney Kaide, 89, has been at a Kaumana care home after being diagnosed with bladder cancer. He is unable to talk and is bedridden. But whenever his wife visits him, he lights up. “;The only pleasure he has in life is to hear my mom's voice, to feel her touch,”; said daughter Charlotte Kaide.

Terry, who turns 87 next month, lives in a community care foster family home almost 10 miles away in Papaikou. Paralyzed from the waist down following complications from multiple back surgeries, she pays her caregiver $500 a month to drive her to see her husband.

The Kaides sought an exemption with the Department of Human Services for Terry to move in the same care home as her husband, but were denied three times because of the law.

Family members said there is an empty bed in their father's room. The state indicated the residential care home operator applied for a third certified bed in November 2007 but was denied because they requested use of the bed for a private-pay client.

The couple have been living in separate care homes for two years.

“;We don't have too much time left,”; said Terry Kaide in a written testimony. “;I want to be able to wake up and see his face every morning, hold his hand and sing his favorite songs. I miss him all the time and I just want to be at his side.”;

Some of the proposed amendments proposed by Human Services Director Lillian Koller include:

» The first private-pay client in the relationship must have been in the community care foster home for at least five years.

» Certified documentation of medical necessity that the first private-pay client could not be moved from the home.

» The home must be certified for three beds.

» The home must have had a vacancy in the third bed for at least six consecutive months; however, this requirement can be waived if during the preceding six months, there were at least three vacancies available at other residential care homes within a half-hour drive on Oahu and an hourlong drive on the neighbor islands.

The residential care home operator where Sidney Kaide lives still needs to apply for the third bed to be certified as a Medicaid client bed for the exception to be made for Terry Kaide.

The Department of Human Services will monitor what it proposes as a demonstration project for a maximum of two years to ensure exceptions made for private-pay clients do not undermine clients on Medicaid. Community care foster family homes were created to primarily serve the adult Medicaid population who lack financial resources, said Koller in testimony she submitted to lawmakers yesterday.

Terry Kaide, who also plans to testify before committee members Monday, visited her husband yesterday and told him, “;I'm going to Honolulu to see if we can live together.”;

Every time she leaves his bedside, she cries.

“;We've seen them suffer long enough,”; said their daughter.