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Troubled Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home in Hilo to get $600K in federal funding

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - 4/2/2021

Apr. 3—The Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home in Hilo is slated to receive an estimated $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.

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

In a statement today, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said, "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."

COVID-19 infected a total of 71 residents and 35 employees at the facility in August and September 2020, 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 penalty was issued based on a series of unannounced visits by the Office of HealthCare Assurance.

The health department had indicated inspectors eventually found the home to be in compliance with requirements during a follow-up visit on Jan. 6 The state took over management of Yukio Okutsu from the Utah-based Avalon Health Care Group on Jan. 1.


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