ACAP Recognizes Christina Higa of Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center with Sixteenth Annual Supporting the Safety Net Award

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  Honolulu: Kashmira Reid c/o MVNP, (808) 389-3771,; Washington: Jeff Van Ness, (202) 204-7515,


ACAP Recognizes Christina Higa of Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center with Sixteenth Annual Supporting the Safety Net Award

WASHINGTON – Today, the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) presented its sixteenth annual Supporting the Safety Net Award to Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center (PBTRC) and its co-director, Christina Higa. PBTRC is a program within the University of Hawaii at Manoa. In addition to speaking at the ACAP CEO Summit held today, Dr. Higa was honored with a $1,000 donation. PBTRC was nominated for the national award by ACAP Member Plan AlohaCare.

For ten years, PBRTC has provided technical assistance for the Pacific Region; advancing telehealth by developing telehealth networks and services through education, training, and strategic planning. PBTRC serves the most underserved, rural, and asset-limited populations throughout Hawaii and the Pacific, offering service to 2 million people spread across an ocean area slightly larger than the size of the continental U.S. It is a complex region to serve with unique challenges to healthcare access including major geographic isolation and separation by ocean, a critical shortage of primary and specialty care, extremely high costs of travel and broadband, tiny populations, and differing political and cultural environments.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic laid bare disparities that often complicate access to care, we watched telehealth fill critical gaps,” said ACAP CEO Margaret A. Murray. “In PBTRC’s service area—where seeking care at any time might require travel by boat or plane— Ms. Higa and her team provide a vital service, ensuring that every person can access the care they need. We’re thrilled to honor their tireless efforts today.”

The Supporting the Safety Net Award recognizes a community-based organization or individual that goes beyond expectations for care by implementing programs to meet the health needs of underserved populations. These role models exemplify best practices and represent an innovation in health care. It’s the first time that an organization from Hawaii has won the award.

AlohaCare nominated PBTRC because of its crucial role in making telehealth services accessible for under-resourced and underserved populations in the entire Pacific Region, and significantly improving telehealth access for AlohaCare members with Medicaid and the providers who care for them.

Miss Higa, AlohaCare writes, is “someone who has been told she can be too optimistic, but that just makes her dig deeper into the details to make things work. She says, ‘I just want to make a difference and do the best I can to help people. That’s what drives a lot of us, the desire to want to make the world a better place.’ And that is exactly what they’re doing.”

“We join ACAP in congratulating PBRTC and are proud to be one of their partners. Our team and our members are the better for it,” said AlohaCare CEO Francoise Culley-Trotman. “Their dedication to advancing equity, willingness to face any challenge, and commitment to forming successful partnerships makes them worthy of this award and our sincere gratitude.”

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About ACAP:

ACAP represents 78 health plans, which collectively provide health coverage to more than 20 million people. Safety Net Health Plans serve their members through Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Marketplace and other publicly-sponsored health programs. For more information, visit

About Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center :

Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center (PBTRC) is committed to expanding the availability of healthcare to underserved populations in Hawaii and the Pacific Basin region via telehealth. PBTRC serves as a Telehealth information resource and a Telehealth community-building organization, assisting in the development of existing and new Telehealth networks. The PBTRC team offers education, training, strategic planning and background information regarding Telehealth technology, medical information technology infrastructure, mobile health applications, and Telehealth creation, growth and maintenance. The center is one of 14 supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration, and is a program within the University of Hawaii. For more information, visit

About Aloha Care:

AlohaCare is a community-led, nonprofit health plan founded in 1994 by Hawaiʻi’s community health centers and is the only local health plan solely dedicated to serving those eligible for Hawaiʻi’s QUEST Integration Medicaid and Medicare program. The nonprofit services over 79,000 Hawaiʻi members and is the state’s second largest Medicaid/Medicare health plan. For more information, visit

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