AP NEWS

Clinics planned for veterans

July 31, 2017 GMT

LIHUE — The U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs approved lease agreements to build community-based outpatient clinics on Kauai and Maui. The project construction will total $9.9 million.

“The announcement is long overdue for our veterans on Maui and Kauai,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono, member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, who met with Jennifer Gutowski, VA’s Pacific Islands health care system director.

The long-awaited Kauai veterans clinic will be built on a 1.06-acre lot adjacent to the Kauai Veterans Center. Construction is projected to begin in late 2019.

“Veterans expressed their deep, continuing frustration that this important project had remained stalled for years,” said Hirono. “With this approval, we can move forward on design and construction of the facility that these veterans deserve.”

The Maui outpatient facility will be at a location preferred by veterans, in a partnership between the VA and Hawaii Department of Education.

Veterans Affairs is negotiating a lease agreement with the Kauai Veterans Center for use of the land. The facility plans to house offices for the Community-Based Outpatient Clinic, Veterans Health Administration, VA Benefits Office, and Hawaii State Office of Veterans Services, as well as the Veteran Center. The construction project will provide veterans with a “one-stop shop” multiplex for their needs in one building.

“Our state offices should be located within the VA Center,” said Tony Elliott, state veterans services counselor. “If we’re all located in the same building, it will be great for us.”

Kauai’s new CBOC will offer primary care, mental health, women’s health and specialty medical care, both via telemedicine and on-island provider visits. In addition, the clinic will feature limited laboratory capability and home-based primary care.

“It doesn’t change what we do,” said Elliott. “We will continue to not only provide physical and mental care but try to fill in for all veteran services in one location.”

Funding comes from the VA Minor construction program for design and construction.