Office of the Governor – News Release – Hawaiʻi is the First State to Provide Palliative Care Coverage

Posted on Jun 3, 2024 in Latest Department News, Newsroom, Office of the Governor Press Releases







June 3, 2024 

HONOLULU – Governor Josh Green, M.D., and the Department of Human Services (DHS) Med-QUEST Division are pleased to announce that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved a new State Plan Amendment (SPA) to cover community palliative care services through Medicaid, making Hawaiʻi the first state in the nation to do so.  

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with a serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of the illness, with a goal of improving quality of life for both the patient and the family. 

“After several years of hard work and collaboration with many community members and experts in the field, I am proud to announce that Med-QUEST is the first Medicaid program in the country to get this benefit approved,” said Governor Green. “This will greatly improve the quality of life and health outcomes for thousands of people who face serious medical conditions in our state. Hawaiʻi continues to lead the nation in innovations in health and health care.” 

DHS Director Ryan Yamane shared, “This new benefit allows Medicaid beneficiaries who are suffering from serious illness, to receive specialized services that address physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and other needs throughout the continuum of care.” 

“Now, fewer people who face serious illness will suffer, because community palliative care is now covered under Medicaid,” said Judy Mohr Peterson, Med-QUEST Division Administrator. 

This monumental SPA is expected to pave the way for other states that are exploring new ways to pay for interdisciplinary, community palliative care.

Although this benefit takes effect immediately, Med-QUEST will actively engage with the many stakeholders/community members who have helped over the years in developing it to work through the details for full implementation.

# # # 


Media Contacts:      

Erika Engle
Press Secretary
Office of the Governor, State of Hawai‘i
Office: 808-586-0120
Email: [email protected]

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

Amanda Stevens
Public Information Officer
Department of Human Services
Office: 808-586-4892
Email: [email protected]