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Couple split by state closer to reunion


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POSTED: Friday, April 17, 2009

As she prepares to turn 87 next week, Terry Kaide could be getting a long-awaited present: a reunion with her husband, Sidney.

The Big Island couple have lived in separate community care foster family homes for two years because of a legal technicality.

State lawmakers took a step Tuesday to reunite them, passing a proposal to create a two-year demonstration project allowing couples in their situation to live together.

“;My birthday is next week, and I'll be happy to be with him,”; Terry Kaide said after House lawmakers passed Senate Bill 190. “;We've been separated for two years now. To be together again means, really, a lot to both of us.”;

Under current law, only two Medicaid clients and one private-pay client may be in the same residential care home. Kaide and her 89-year-old husband both are private-pay clients.

Bedridden and unable to speak, Sidney Kaide has lived at a Kaumana home since 2003, when he was diagnosed with bladder cancer.

His wife lives in a home almost 10 miles away in Papaikou. She is paralyzed from the waist down from complications due to multiple back surgeries and pays a caregiver $500 a month to drive her to see her husband.

Under the bill, the Department of Human Services would oversee a two-year project allowing two private-pay clients sharing specified relationships to live in the same home under certain conditions. The department would report back to the 2011 Legislature on whether the program needs to be expanded or discontinued. Couples who enter the program during the demonstration project would be allowed to remain in their situation if the program ends, said House Human Services Chairman John Mizuno (D, Kalihi).

The revised bill now heads back to the Senate.