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Hawaii News

Queen’s Health Systems offers deferral of payments for federal workers

The Queen’s Health Systems on Wednesday began deferring out-of-pocket payments for federal workers affected by the partial government shutdown, now in its fifth week.

The 30-day deferral applies to charges at The Queen’s Medical Center, The Queen’s Medical Center-West Oahu, Molokai General Hospital and North Hawaii Community Hospital on the Big Island.

If the shutdown continues beyond the 30 days, the hospital operator said it would work with patients on individualized payment plans.

“This deferral program is designed for federal employees who aren’t receiving paychecks during this partial government shutdown,” said Art Ushijima, president and CEO of The Queen’s Health Systems. “Queen’s understands that the shutdown has had a significant impact on our local communities, and we are doing what we can to provide quality health care to our patients during this challenging time.”

More than 300 of the 3,200 federal employees Queen’s treats annually are estimated to have been affected by the shutdown.

Other businesses are also offering help as the rippling effects of the shutdown continue.

American Savings Bank has opened temporary positions to furloughed federal workers. Email resumes to recruitment@­asbhawaii.com or call 538-2000.

“We empathize with the workers and families affected by the prolonged government shutdown,” said Beth Whitehead, ASB chief administrative officer. “In an effort to help furloughed federal employees on Oahu, we have made temporary positions available, all of which will include weekly pay.”

Meanwhile, Hawaii State FCU has started a government shutdown assistance program that includes emergency 27-month loans of up to $5,000 with no interest or payment required for the first three months; loan payment deferrals of up to three months on existing personal and auto loans; and early withdrawals of share certificates with no fees.

In addition, some 160,000 residents dependent on government food stamps received their February benefits on Sunday to ensure that low-income residents have enough food, while the Hawaii Foodbank is distributing more than 16,000 pounds of food to federal workers this week and is seeking additional donations for an expected influx in demand.

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