Director of state Human Services dept. stepping down

Published On: Feb 07 2014 02:13:56 PM HST   Updated On: Feb 07 2014 03:31:19 PM HST

Patricia McManaman, director of the Department of Human Services, announced Friday she will be stepping down from her position due to personal reasons.

McManaman has served under the Abercrombie Administration since its inception in December 2010.  She says it has been an "incredible honor" to serve the people of Hawaii.

"The Department of Human Services exists to improve the lives of the most vulnerable and needy in our communities," stated McManaman. "I have worked alongside dedicated people in the department who truly believe in the work of helping others.  I am extremely humbled and grateful to have served with them and know there will be a seamless transition to continue the work started under this Administration."

Gov. Neil Abercrombie expressed his gratitude for McManaman’s service stating, "Pat has been a leader in our community for decades and has directly and indirectly touched many lives.  Her persistence in doing what’s just, and her experience and knowledge has helped to right many a ship."

The state said McManaman led the department during a difficult time due to the economic recession, when programs and funding were scaled down.  Her leadership and innovation helped drive through these difficult times, and her passion and commitment moved the department forward as it improved services and expanded programs.

The governor is placing Deputy Director Barbara Yamashita as acting Director.

"Pat will be missed as our Director, but she has laid solid foundation for moving forward," said Yamashita.

A few highlights of McManaman’s directorship include the following:

- Developing and implementing KOLEA, MedQUEST's new online eligibility system.

- Eliminating barriers to public benefits and increasing timeliness rates for access to food stamps from 66 percent statewide to 97 percent.

- Reducing the mandatory waiting period for public benefits from 21 days to seven days.

- Eliminating the asset test for financial assistance for needy families, establishing the voluntary care to 21 program for foster youth aging out of foster care.

- Unifying and coordinating care for Medicaid clients with serious mental illness under the umbrella of MedQUEST and providing expanded services for these clients, including supportive housing together with enhanced federal funding to support day programming.

- Championing legislation to protect vulnerable seniors and disabled adults from financial exploitation.

Prior to her directorship position, McManaman practiced law in Hawaii for more than 30 years, holding a variety of public interest legal positions.  She also served as a per diem judge in the District Court and Family Court of the First Circuit, State of Hawaii for 17 years.

McManaman has received a variety of awards and recognition for her leadership in social and public health issues.


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