Office of the Governor – News Release – Gov. Green introduces the kauhale concept to a global audience

Posted on May 2, 2023 in Latest Department News, Newsroom, Office of the Governor Press Releases

LOS ANGELES  ̶  Governor Josh Green, M.D. the only physician governor in the country, today shared the kauhale concept with influential attendees of the 26th Annual Milken Institute Global Conference. The event brings together leaders from around the globe to tackle critical issues facing society. Governor Green spoke on the importance of treating behavioral health as primary healthcare, as well as addressing homelessness through humane methods such as developing tiny homes. He also emphasized the need for healthcare reform to increase efficiency and accessibility for all.

“Housing is health care,” he announced during a live interview and shared with the audience the medical respite kauhale plan he previously revealed to our state.

Average spending on emergency room care for a homeless person in Hawaiʻi is $82,000 per person per year. Putting people in tiny homes following discharge from the hospital for follow-up care will reduce that cost from between 43 percent to 73 percent, depending on the severity of the patient’s illness. These follow-up services will dramatically reduce ER visits and bring the average cost down to $21,000 a year. The savings can be reinvested in our communities, he said.

Governor Green encouraged willing attendees at the conference to examine investment opportunities in health systems that have workforce shortages, and many house patients in need of long-term care for whom spaces in long-term-care homes are not available. “People who invest in that way are really investing in something that’s more efficient than probably the heart pills we’re putting into people’s bodies,” Governor Green said.

Governor Green emphasized the need to bridge political gaps across the nation to focus less on bickering and more on leading with compassion and helping people in need across red and blue states.

He discussed a planned pitch to President Joe Biden for pilot housing projects, three for blue states and three for red, to test reduction in Medicaid costs and promote better housing and healthcare options using the kauhale model.

Kauhale is a new approach to offering housing for neighbors who have experienced persistent homelessness. As a community-centered model, various forms of kauhale can provide previously houseless people an opportunity to thrive in a community they can call home.

Governor Green received applause at numerous points of his live, on-stage interview, including for his announcement that his loan forgiveness legislation for health care professionals had been approved.

Governor Green returns to Hawaiʻi on Wednesday.

Video: Healthcare of the Future, Part 1: Governing America: A Conversation with Hawai‘i Governor Josh Green(Video credit – the Milken Institute.)

Additional digital media assets can be found here.

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Media Contacts:   

Erika Engle
Press Secretary
Office of the Governor, State of Hawai‘i
Cell: (808) 798-6081
Email: [email protected] 


Makana McClellan
Director of Communications
Office of the Governor, State of Hawaiʻi
Cell: (808) 265-0083
Email: [email protected]