Hilo veterans home to get $600K in federal funding

Hilo’s Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home is slated to receive $600,000 in federal funding to go toward facility upgrades and support operations.

The 95-bed nursing home facility will receive at least $428,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act and an additional $172,741 from the COVID relief package signed into law in December, according to a media release from U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz.

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The state is also expected to receive funding to deploy “strike teams” to respond to outbreaks at long-term care facilities.

“Last fall, Yukio Okutsu was understaffed and ill equipped to stop a deadly COVID outbreak. This new federal funding will help the home upgrade its facilities and ensure its workers remain on the payroll so that it can keep its residents healthy and safe,” U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said in a statement Friday.

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COVID-19 infected a total of 71 residents and 35 employees at the facility in August and September, resulting in 27 fatalities.

The state Health Department recently assessed a federal civil penalty of $510,640 to the nursing home for numerous deficiencies including COVID infection control failures. The state took over management of Yukio Okutsu from the Utah-based Avalon Health Care Group on Jan. 1.

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