WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation introduced by Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) to name the Advanced Leeward Outpatient Health Care Access (ALOHA) VA clinic currently under construction on Oahu after the late former Hawaii Senator Daniel Kahikina Akaka – who first spearheaded the project working alongside Hawaii veterans. The bill passed the Senate in December 2021, and it now goes to President Biden to be signed into law. Congressman Kaiali’i Kahele (D-HI) introduced the House companion bill.
“Throughout his decades of public service, including as chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Senator Akaka was a determined champion for Hawaii’s veterans,” said Senator Hirono. “I’ve been honored to help continue the work he began to build a new health care facility for Leeward Oahu veterans, and I’m pleased that the facility will bear his name. I can think of no better way to recognize Senator Akaka’s commitment to Hawaii and our veterans. Once completed, the Daniel Kahikina Akaka Department of Veterans Affairs Community-Based Outpatient Clinic will provide the high standard of care Leeward Oahu veterans deserve in a convenient facility close to their homes.”
“Renaming this project after Senator Daniel K. Akaka recognizes his decades of federal advocacy and compassion for our veterans and their families. We are finally seeing the project he first envisioned come to fruition. The Daniel Kahikina Akaka Department of Veterans Affairs Community-Based Outpatient Clinic will benefit approximately 87,000 veterans and serve as a critical source of quality care for future generations,” said Congressman Kahele. “Mahalo nui loa, Senator Hirono, for your partnership in spearheading this legislation to honor and remember Senator Akaka’s legacy of service to Hawai?i’s veterans.”
In Congress, Senator Akaka served as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and worked to expand access to GI Bill benefits, bring recognition to Asian-American WWII veterans, and secure one-time compensation for the Philippine Scouts, among other things. Senator Akaka said caring for veterans is “one of our most sacred obligations as a nation,” and this clinic will help provide that care for veterans in Hawaii.
In March 2021, Senator Hirono and Congressman Kahele secured authorization for the General Services Administration (GSA) to provide approval to award a 15-year lease at an annual rent of $5.9 million for the ALOHA 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 in Leeward Oahu and provide primary care, mental health, audiology, women veterans care, physical and occupational therapy, dental, prosthetics, and specialty care for 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.