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Schatz Statement On Management Of Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) released the following statement on the change in management at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo. Earlier this month as the COVID-19 outbreak worsened at the veterans home, Schatz called for immediate federal intervention to contain the spread and help save lives. As a result, the Department of Veterans Affairs mobilized a team to assess and support the veterans home and found a number of serious infection control issues that contributed to the deadly COVID-19 outbreak there.

“The recent reports have shown that Avalon is ill-equipped to operate the veterans home and contain this outbreak. Avalon has also been unwilling to take responsibility for their mismanagement so this was the right decision.

“What happens next will be critical. The transition plan to a new management team must put the health and safety of patients and staff first. HHSC must also ensure that a change in management does not adversely impact staffing and census in other facilities and that all residents of nursing facilities on Hawai‘i Island receive care in the most appropriate setting.

“My staff and I will continue to work with federal, state, and local leaders to improve the management at the veterans home and at long-term care facilities across the state.”