Following Hirono Advocacy, Senate Clears Key Procedural Hurdle to Build Community-Based Outpatient Clinic for Leeward Oahu Veterans
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Approved Lease Prospectus for the Long-Awaited Advanced Leeward Outpatient Health Care Access (ALOHA) Project
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, announced that the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee approved a resolution that would allow the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to award a lease for the Advanced Leeward Outpatient Health Care Access (ALOHA) Project. Once the project receives similar approval from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the VA could formally move forward with the lease award.
“Leeward Oahu veterans have been waiting for years for a new facility that would improve their access to health care closer to home,” Senator Hirono said. “Passage of this resolution brings us one step closer to making the ALOHA Project a reality for these veterans, and represents progress toward fulfilling the vision of Senator Daniel K. Akaka – who first spearheaded this project working with local veterans. I will work with my former colleagues on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to pass their companion resolution when the new Congress convenes in January 2021 so an award can be made and construction can finally begin.”
The unanimous passage of this resolution in the EPW Committee authorizes the General Services Administration (GSA) to provide approval to award a 15-year lease at an annual rent of $5.9 million for the project. It also authorizes an up-front lump sum payment of $18 million to facilitate construction of the facility. When completed, the ALOHA Project will be a 66,000 foot multispecialty VA clinic on the Ewa Plain area of Oahu and provide primary care, mental health care, x-ray, laboratory, diagnostic, pharmacy, and specialty care for 25,000 veterans in the area.
The clinic will also reduce wait times, increase provider availability, and help alleviate traffic challenges and parking deficits veterans currently experience on the Tripler Army Medical Center campus, where the Spark M. Matsunaga Veterans Affairs Medical Center is located.
Senator Hirono has long been a champion of the ALOHA Project. In 2014, Senator Hirono included authorization for the facility in the VA Choice Act and originally secured lease award authorization in the Senate in January 2018.
After internal delays at the VA pushed the timeline for construction of the project, Senator Hirono pressed VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to expedite a lease award at Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearings in March 2019 and June 2020.
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