Mildred Courtney Honored by How to Fix the Health Care System

October 13, 2007
Mildred Courtney Honored by
the First Pacific Air Forces
By Dr. Chuck Kelley
On September 14,
at the Air Force’s 60th
Anniversary Ball, our very
own Mildred Courtney
was presented with the
prestigious Commander’s
Award for Public Service.
Mildred was honored for
her years of dedication
and her unrelenting
service to the First Pacific
Air Forces, Hickam Air
Force Base, Hawaii. She
was acknowledged for
always going above and
beyond the call of duty by
providing superior service
and improving the quality
General Paul V. Heser presents the first Pacific Air Forces
Commander’s award for Public Service to Mildred Courtney of life for all service men
and women. Her current
involvement includes serving as the President for Friends of Hickam, a
position she held since 1986.
It was also noted that Mildred was singularly instrumental in
reshaping the Command’s “Outstanding Airmen of the Year” week and
ceremony, molding it into a world-class recognition program. She achieved
this by rallying local business leaders to design and orchestrate a week-long
series of events, showcasing the First Pacific Air Forces and the sacrifices of
our great Airmen and their families.
Mildred also spearheaded a project to secure Downtown Quarters,
which now offers valuable support for Airmen and their families who have
endured hardship beyond their control.
As Military Liaison, Mildred continues to donate her services and
enthusiastically supports many Air Force events and ceremonies. Her
personal involvement enhances every event and reflects the true Aloha
Spirit. We are deeply honored to have Mildred represent our company in
her undying devotion to the U.S. Military and to the State of Hawaii.
How to Fix the
Health Care System
This is the third in a series of articles on health
care in the United States. In the previous articles
I described the convoluted system currently used to
deliver services to the customer. I also outlined the
reasons why we don’t want to have a governmentrun equivalent of an HMO responsible for the
delivery of health care.
Today, I want to offer suggestions that are
needed at the national and state levels to cut
the cost of health care and improve access to it
for all Americans.
• Make the patient primarily responsible for
selecting and paying for health care services.
Currently, the patient or his/her family has very
little involvement in the choices and economics
of health care. Typically you go to the doctor and
he or she might say, “You should have a couple of
blood tests, a chest x-ray, an MRI of your lower
back, and you should be seen by a neurosurgeon.
My assistant will provide you with the forms.
This should all be covered by your insurance.”
This is the situation today. You get
everything done but no one along the line
discusses either choices or costs! There is
no competition among providers. Weeks or
months later you receive a statement from your
insurance company showing the charges for
the various services. You also receive bills from
the service providers for any unpaid amounts.
These can range from a couple of dollars to
—sometimes—as much as several hundred or
even more than a thousand dollars.
If we want to get the patient involved and
start saving money in the delivery of health
Continued on page 6
Saturday Briefing
Page 1
Dorothy Gray
Teunissen Moreno
By Chuck Shishido
to the family
of Dorothy
Moreno, who
passed away
20, 2007, in
retired 6 years
ago, in 2001,
Dorothy Gray Teunissen Moreno
after 12 years
with Outrigger. She started as a Secretary to
John Durham and eventually took on the
added responsibility of assisting me with
administrative duties as well. After retirement,
she enjoyed spending time with her family,
playing on her computer, reading, and cooking.
Dorothy was 72 when she passed away. A
memorial service was held this past Saturday,
October 6, in California. We’ll all miss her
friendly smile and bubbly personality.
Saturday Briefing is published
by and for employees of
Outrigger Enterprises Group.
Editor-In-Chief: Richard Kelley
Senior Editor: Marie Casciato
Assistant Editor: Lehua Kala‘i
Circulation: Marie Casciato
Contributing Writers: Employees of Outrigger
Enterprises Group
Visit us online at:
Submit suggestions, comments, and
news tidbits to Marie Casciato at
[email protected]
or via interoffice mail to
OEH/Executive Office,
or contact her at (808) 921-6601.
© 2007 Outrigger Hotels Hawaii
Saturday Briefing
Page 2
An Equal Opportunity Employer
A Second Chance
By Kathy Oyadomari
Thirteen years ago, Virginia Asakawa, Housekeeping Manager at
the OHANA Waikiki Beachcomber, was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Doctors told Virgie that her cancer was at stage 4, and stage 5 is considered
terminal. Virgie clearly remembers starting weekly chemotherapy on
August 15, 1993, for three months. In December that year, Virgie received
very high doses of chemotherapy to prepare her for a bone marrow
transplant. After the bone marrow transplant, Virgie got very sick and
needed a blood transfusion. Virgie says, “Without the blood transfusion,
I would have died.” Virgie is very grateful that the blood was available
when she needed it. Before Virgie got sick, she was an avid supporter of the
Blood Bank and gave blood regularly. Virgie
shared that “It’s very important for people
to be educated on the importance of giving
blood. What happened to me, could happen
to anyone.” I am happy to share that Virgie’s
cancer has been in remission since 1999, and
she is healthy and strong. Please consider being
a blood donor on Tuesday, October 23.
On behalf of Outrigger and myself, thank
you very much, Virginia, for your willingness
to share your personal story; we appreciate
your openness to help others who are in need!
As they say at the Blood Bank of Hawaii…
Virginia Asakawa
“Together We Can Save Lives.”
If you are interested in the
position listed below and meet
the qualifications, please submit
an in-house application obtained
from your Supervisor or Human
Resources. If you have any
questions, please call Eric Ishikawa
at (808) 921-6989. Application
deadline for the following position
is October 19.
Oct 30: Laura X. X. Li, Amber M.
L. K. Hudnall, Nenij Mark, Xorda
C. Laurin, Jennilyn K. Sato, Elpidio
A. Salud, Robert T. Owens, James
M. Heather, Annette M. K. G.
Creamer, Sean C. Ling, Jayson C.
Abut, Brett S. Soboleski, and Danny
I. Ojiri.
Pool Attendant (Full Time)
Responsible for all pool
operations, including the
safety, cleanliness, and overall
maintenance of
the pool area.
Ability to operate
heavy equipment
is required. Must
have excellent
skills and be
flexible to work
any shift and day.
Oct 31: Robert Giggey, Jessica A.
Nagato, Ilaine M. Bartholomew,
Ernesto Q. Yap, Robert L. Casco,
and Cheryl C. Suda.
Nov 01: Nestor P. Pacis, James
E. Hodges Jr., Filomena Taylan,
Thomas J. Fischer, Imelda V.
Martinez, Celeste A. Rivera, Pamela
A. Cabrera, and Doreen Nohara.
Nov 02: Lucy M. Laborte and
Toshiko Iida.
Nov 03: Tita E. Aquino, Kathy A.
Hansberry, Lapule L. Cummings,
and Yuk Doong Chee.
Nov 04: Leona S. McDermott and
Agricola G. Molina.
Wyland Waikiki Hosts
“An Evening with Designer Rachel Pally”
By Debbie Murakami
The Wyland Waikiki Hotel played host to a dazzling
Stoli Vodka hostesses were on hand to pass out samples
event showcasing Los Angeles fashion designer Rachel Pally
of their new Stoli Bluberi, and attendees munched on Penne
on Saturday, September 29. Ms. Pally graduated from the
Pasta with Basil Pesto and Calamari Fritte with Lemon Aioli
University of California-Berkeley with a major in Urban
provided by Spada. Beautiful models, sporting Rachel Pally’s
Planning and a
feminine, sensual,
minor in Dance. Her
designs strolled
passion for design
through the oceanand appreciation for
themed Wyland lobby
grace, fluidity, and
to the delight of their
expression led her to
audience. Fashions
create a contemporary
were later available for
women’s line, which
purchase in the hotel’s
debuted during Los
Chill Room. Wyland’s
Angeles Fashion Week
Stacy Keen, Barrett
Fall 2004, when she
Winning, and Sandy
was just 23 years old.
Lee provided escorted
Described as timeless
familiarization tours
and sexy, her designs
of the hotel’s chic
have become favorites
contemporary rooms.
of celebrities such as
The attendees
Sarah Jessica Parker and
included Koko
Kate Hudson.
Cabana president Gina
Friday’s “By
Johnson, Nadine Kam
Assistant General Manager Barrett Winning and Rachel Palling’s models
Invitation Only” event
from the Star Bulletin,
was coordinated by Justin Yoshino of marketADvantage, The
Debra Cohn from Modern Luxury, Molly Watanabe from
Wyland Waikiki Hotel, and Spada Bar & Restaurant. Smart Magazine and Yu Shing Ting with Midweek.
Outrigger Waikiki Employees and Managers
Spruce up Kapiolani Park
By Ethan Chang
As part of Outrigger’s commitment to
the community, managers and employees
of the Outrigger Waikiki participated
in helping to paint picnic tables and
benches at Kapiolani Park. In all, about
20 picnic tables and benches were cleaned
and repainted in order to enhance one of
Honolulu’s largest parks.
The volunteers at the Outrigger
Waikiki traditionally help throughout
the year on the upkeep of Kapiolani Park
through community service programs
and its partnership with the Department
of Parks and Recreation. Volunteers
from the hotel participate in repainting
and mulching quarterly throughout the
year. Mahalo for all the hard work these
First row: Brian Fong, Barbara Lam, and Robert Uchida Second row: Eric Matsumoto, Ethan Chang,
volunteers give to beautify our environment
Jo-Ann Yonamine, and Herman Lam Third row: Lorna Benigno, Carol Ogasawara, Jim Heather,
and for their service to our community.
and Ivy Kwok Fourth row: Gloria Daoang, Cindy Castillo, and Clint Jamile
Saturday Briefing
Page 3
Revenue Managers Meet in Denver for Annual Meeting
By Kathy Sylvester
Each year, the Revenue Managers and the Denver team
get together for a face-to-face meeting. This year, Denver
hosted, and those who attended were Bill Peters, Kathy
Sylvester, Marion Beverly, Raymond Scott, and Shannon
Nolder from the Denver team; and Elizabeth Cambra, Luke
Hamada, Beverly Fidel, Connie Apuna-Diego, Jamie Wong,
Mandie Burson, Aileen Geronimo, Grace Nakamura, Lynelle
Akana, and Leda Tupinio from Honolulu.
The meeting began on Tuesday, September 25, with an
introduction and ice-breaker, as there were new attendees to
this year’s meeting. After the introduction, the team spoke
about its past, present, and future goals. We identified many
areas we had successfully accomplished, specifically with
communication and rapport building. Goals for this coming
year were also discussed, and they include continued efforts
in communication, updating of sales dialog in Stellex 2.0,
property-specific needs, and the use of eLearning. A few
eLearning areas were identified to focus on for this year, such
as Stellex 2.0 training, property specific training, and other
updates around the pricing and R&O season.
We were honored by a visit from Dr. Kelley during the
lunch hour. As we gathered to eat, Dr. Kelley told many
stories about technology and how far advanced booking
procedures had come over the years. He described a time
when punch cards were used and explained the manual
system of placing them in slots on the wall. He also talked
about the stop sell process and that calendars were marked off
by hand when a stop sell was identified. Dr. Kelley also spoke
of some property changes in the company, including the new
properties in Australia and Bali.
The afternoon was spent with the Revenue Managers
touring the Contact Center and sitting with agents in both
Wholesale and Retail departments, listening to phone calls
and seeing the booking processes in action. It is always an
eye-opener to get a first-hand look at the different types of
interactions the Center receives regarding to reservations,
and many Revenue Managers had entertaining stories on
some of the phone calls they heard. The last portion of the
meeting was spent with each Revenue Manager reporting on
occupancy trends for their specific properties.
The next day offered a much different environment for all,
a guided hike in the mountains. There was a main objective,
however, which was a team-building exercise using GPS units,
hosted by a Denver-based company, Get Out Colorado.
Both the Revenue Management Team and the Denver
team participated. The group was split into two teams
including a mix of both Honolulu and Denver OHANA.
The first team, called the Wild Imus, consisted of Bill Peters,
Elizabeth Cambra, Jamie Wong, Marion Beverly, Raymond
Scott, Leda Tupinio, and Grace Nakamura; and the second
group, the Bad News Bears, included Luke Hamada, Kathy
Sylvester, Mandie Burson, Beverly Fidel, Shannon Nolder,
Connie Apuna-Diego, Lynelle Akana, and Aileen Geronimo. Continued on page 5
Sitting: Kathy Sylvester, Dr. Richard Kelley, Leda Tupinio, and Luke Hamada
Standing: Shannon Nolder, Raymond Scott, Mandie Burson, Grace Nakamura, Beverly Fidel, Marion Beverly, Aileen Geronimo,
Elizabeth Cambra, Connie Apuna-Diego, Jamie Wong, and Bill Peters
Saturday Briefing
Page 4
Revenue Managers Meet in Denver for Annual Meeting
Continued from page 4
Their objective was to be the first team to find a hidden flag.
Each team received several GPS units, and we were given
a short lesson on how to use the equipment. Then, both
teams, led by a tour guide, set out in different directions. The
“game” began at a specific time, and each team had their own
unique challenges. Wild Imus had a harder and steeper trail
to navigate, while the Bears headed in the opposite direction
from the flag. Each team also faced internal challenges within
their teams. It was discovered later that the tour guides had
asked Luke Hamada and Bill Peters to be “trouble-makers”
on their respective teams, (which I might add, was not hard
for them to accomplish), thereby adding another obstacle to
the hunt for the flag.
Wild Imus reached the general area where the flag was
located first, however, as they were seeking the flag, the Bears
arrived. The Bears found a small trail, off the beaten path,
and found the flag first. After some celebration, the teams
reconvened and discussed the team building exercise. It was
also discussed how the lessons could be applied to our jobs.
Then, the group had a picnic lunch at Red Rocks Amphitheater,
an outdoor venue tucked into the rocks of the foothills, and
enjoyed a terrific lunch with awesome views of Denver.
The next day was spent back in the office with the Revenue
Management Team conducting presentations to the reservation
agents. The information provided was very helpful to the agents,
and they had many gifts to give away. The agents enjoy visitors
from Hawaii, and they look forward to learning more about the
properties, which makes selling the properties easier.
The entire meeting was a great experience. The Denver
Team extends a warm Mahalo to the Revenue Management
Team for joining us for business and team building fun. We
are looking forward to our next meeting.
front to back: Leda Tupinio, Luke Hamada, Marion Beverly,
Connie Apuna-Diego, Elizabeth Cambra, and Jamie Wong
front to back: Aileen Geronimo, Grace Nakamura, Shannon Nolder,
Raymond Scott, Beverly Fidel, Mandie Burson, and Kathy Sylvester
Front: Elizabeth Cambra, Bill Peters, Marion Beverly, and Raymond Scott
Back: Jamie Wong, Grace Nakamura, and Leda Tupinio
front to back: Kathy Sylvester, Connie Apuna-Diego, Lynelle Akana, Shannon Nolder,
Aileen Geronimo, Mandie Burson, Beverly Fidel, and Luke Hamada
Saturday Briefing
Page 5
How to Fix the Health Care System
Continued from page 1
care, the conversation should go like this. “You should have
a couple of blood tests, a chest x-ray, an MRI of your lower
back, and you should be seen by a neurosurgeon. My assistant
will provide you with the forms and a list of several providers
with their prices. ABC Labs usually has the best prices. The
King Street Imaging Center is offering 20 percent off MRIs
this month and they are open until 9 p.m. King Street also
offers credit terms of no money down and no interest for 90
days. The Health Care Line of Credit on your Visa card will
cover your other payments until you are reimbursed by your
insurance company.”
In this scenario, the patient is involved in the choices
available and – just as for other goods and services – the
providers will compete on the basis of price and levels of
service. Generally, prices will fall and service will improve. If
you don’t believe it, just look at Lasik, the laser eye procedure
done by ophthalmologists to correct myopia. Lasik is not
generally covered by health insurance, and as more providers
have entered the market, the price of the procedure has fallen
dramatically since it was introduced. Look Lasik up on Google
or any major Web search engine and you will see offers such as
“$299 per eye,” “$0 Down, No Interest!” or “Compare Quotes
– Fast, Easy, Free!” The same is true in cosmetic surgery, which
is not normally covered by health insurance.
• Get state governments out of regulating health insurance
companies and have one set of uniform federal regulations;
these should be few in number.
Right now, every state has a different set of rules and it’s crazy.
In Hawaii, relatively few health insurance companies can
operate because of the challenging regulatory environment.
Lack of interstate competition increases costs. So do the
multiple state mandates that force insurance to cover a wide
variety of services most people don’t need or want. There is
rarely any credit for living a healthy lifestyle and rarely any
penalty for those who indulge in unhealthy activities. Wouldn’t
it be nice to be able to buy your health coverage, specially
designed for your needs, from any company in the nation that
offers you the right combination of price and service?
• Make health care insurance portable and not subject to
cancellation if you leave your job.
People should not be locked into their jobs by their health
care insurance, and no one should have to change insurance
or their doctor if they change their job.
• Make health care expenditures and savings tax-deductible.
An employer could then give employees cash instead of an
insurance policy and to the extent that that the employees use
the money for health care or deposit it in a Health Savings
Account, there would be no federal, state or local taxes on that
money. This would also level the playing field for small business
owners, independent contractors and self-employed individuals
who must now pay for health care with after-tax dollars.
Saturday Briefing
Page 6
• Allow small companies to join forces to provide health care
insurance for employees and their families without running
afoul of anti-trust laws.
This spreads the risk and will result in lower premiums for
individuals and small businesses.
• Institute tort reform for health care cases.
Specialized federal courts should handle claims in the area of
health care, much as federal tax courts handle tax cases. Both
claimants and defendants will benefit from judges capable of
understanding the medical issues involved. Frivolous claims
should be rejected with the judge having the power to force
plaintiffs to pay reasonable defense costs in cases that should
never have been brought to court.
• Fortify the Public Health Care Clinic System.
Public health clinics that provide “free” medical care to those
who cannot afford to pay for it are a very valuable component
of our health care system. Unfortunately, in recent years,
public funding of free health care programs has decreased,
and access to these clinics has been complicated by insurance
programs. Indigent patients have been pushed into a web of
lower-cost insurance programs, such as Quest here in Hawaii,
that enable them to receive care at private medical offices
and clinics. While it’s an excellent idea to provide lower-cost
insurance programs to those in need, what many indigent
people need even more than complicated insurance programs
is easy access to high-quality medical care. Strengthening our
public health clinics will serve the indigent better, reduce the
spread of communicable diseases, decrease cost shifting to the
private sector, and lower the overall cost of health care.
• Make sure that government programs such as Medicare,
Medicaid, SCHIP and others are paying their fair share of the
cost of health care.
Many, if not most, government programs fail to pay
physicians and hospitals on a par with private insurance
companies. For example, for a new patient pediatric office
visit in California, Medicaid pays $22.90 while the median
private insurance reimbursement is $41, according to an
American Academy of Pediatrics report updated in February
2007. Disparities like these throughout the health care system
cause hospitals and clinics to try to stay financially afloat by
raising fees for patients who use private insurance or pay cash.
It has also led to the closing of many city-center hospitals
across the nation that have a high percentage of patients
covered by low-paying government programs.
In summary, it will not an easy task to turn the health
care system in our country around to a free market model.
However, it is worth the effort because the alternatives of
implementing a huge government HMO called “Universal
Care” would be far more disruptive and costly. The experience
of government-run health care in England and Canada has
shown this all too clearly.