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Veterans home in Kapolei faces major opening delay

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - 9/3/2022

Sep. 3—A 120-bed care home being built on Oahu for military veterans may have its opening delayed by eight to 12 months, a state agency announced Friday.

A 120-bed care home being built on Oahu for military veterans may have its opening delayed by eight to 12 months, a state agency announced Friday.

The state Office of Veterans' Services is concerned that transportation complications and key equipment component shortages may push back the opening of the Daniel K. Akaka State Veterans Home in Kapolei into 2024.

The office, a division of the state Department of Defense, said it recently learned about the situation from the project's primary construction contractor, Nan Inc.

Construction began on the facility in April 2021 and was scheduled for completion in April 2023.

To date, the $98.4 million project on state land near a Walmart store remains on budget and is more than 50 % complete, according to the Office of Veterans' Services.

Thomas Driskill Jr., health care coordinator for the office, said in a statement that the agency is working with stakeholders in an effort to minimize any delay.

"While we are truly disappointed by this potential delay's impact on much needed long-term care services for our Hawaii Veterans, HIDOD continues to work in close collaboration with Nan Inc., the Department of Accounting and General Services, and the Oahu Regional Healthcare System, Hawaii Health Systems Corporation to minimize this extension as effectively as possible, " he said. "Our focus remains to move as quickly as possible to offer the long-term care services not currently available to our most deserving Hawaii Veterans, their spouses and Gold Star parents."

The facility is being built to address a shortage of beds in veterans homes in Hawaii.

State officials have previously said that even with the new facility, which is named after the late U.S. senator from Hawaii, who championed veterans issues and died in 2018 at age 93, Hawaii would still need 53 beds to meet an estimated need for 268 beds statewide.

Only one such facility exists in Hawaii, the 95-bed Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo.

Of the roughly 118, 000 military veterans in the state, approximately 85, 000 live on Oahu.

The new facility in Kapolei will serve long-term and short-term-stay veteran populations, eligible spouses and Gold Star parents, and will be open to all veterans living in Hawaii. It is designed to offer skilled-nursing and intermediate-care facility beds to provide long-term care services plus geriatric mental health /dementia /Alzheimer's care, rehabilitation therapy, hospice, respite and adult day care.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs contributed $44.7 million to the project, while the state is paying $53.7 million.


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