By Jim Bea Sampaga
Last week, Hawaii Senate approved Serafin Colmenares, Jr. to serve as the Administrator of the State Health Planning and Development Agency (SHPDA) effective July 1, 2020 until December 5, 2022.
Governor David Ige appointed Colmenares as SHPDA Administrator on March 6, 2020.
“I feel humbled by the appointment, and thankful to Director of Health Bruce Anderson and Governor David Ige for their trust and confidence in me,” said Colmenares.
“Mahalo to all those who sent in their written testimonies in support of my nomination, to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health headed by Senator Rosalyn Baker for giving their advice and consent, and the full Senate for confirming my appointment.”
Colmenares first joined SHPDA in 2015 as a Comprehensive Health Planning Coordinator. On July 1, 2019, he became the agency’s Acting Administrator after the departure of the previous administrator, Romala Sue Radcliffe.
“The past year has been a challenge since I was performing the functions of the administrator in an acting capacity at the same time doing my other job as a comprehensive health planning coordinator,” Colmenares shared. “It was good preparation for me though as I take on the full-time job as Administrator.”
As SHPDA Administrator, Colmenares’ primary responsibility is to promote “accessibility for all people of the State to quality health care services at a reasonable cost.” He administers and oversees the State’s Certificate of Need (CON) program and Health Services and Facilities Plan (HSFP). He also collaborates with other government agencies in collecting data and maintaining Hawaii’s All Payer Claims Database.
According to Colmenares, there are some things that he wants to improve and update in SHPDA as its new administrator.
“Right now, I am looking [to] update/revise the HSFP. The last time it was revised was in 2009, using 2006 data, and is definitely outdated,” he said.
He also wants to encourage everyone to participate in the agency’s Certificate of Need program.
“We need to recruit community volunteers, particularly consumers, to join our advisory councils and give them the opportunity to participate in the CON and the community health planning process,” he explained.
Lastly, Colmenares hopes to better understand Hawaii’s diverse communities in terms of health.
“In order to better address the social determinants of health in the planning process, I hope we can conduct more robust and comprehensive community health needs assessments on Oahu and the neighbor islands to give us a more accurate picture of the health status of our State’s diverse communities,” Colmenares said.
Before joining SHPDA, Colmenares served as the Office of Language Access Executive Director of State Department of Health (2012-2015) and the Office of Language Access Executive Director of State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (2007-2012).