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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, July 25, 2003

Lingle wants 100 fewer beds for veterans care home

Associated Press

HILO, Hawai'i — Gov. Linda Lingle is recommending that a planned long-term-care home for veterans in Hilo be scaled back.

A feasibility study found that a state-run veterans home may be self-sufficient if it has 100 beds instead of the proposed 200, she said in a talk Tuesday to the Hawaii Island Portuguese Chamber of Commerce.

The scaled-down facility also may be economically feasible if it doesn't have to hire staff under civil service requirements, she said.

Lingle said she will meet with legislative, union and community leaders before making a decision by Aug. 15 to obtain federal funds.

The Legislature this year authorized $16 million for a 200-bed facility. U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye has promised $29 million in matching federal funds.

Hawai'i, Delaware and Alaska are the only states without a state-run veterans home.

The plan is to place the facility on the grounds of Hilo Medical Center by tearing down the former hospital building used for offices and storage, said Carol Myrianthis of the private Hilo Medical Center Foundation.

Leonard Tanaka, also from the foundation, said he was surprised the feasibility report did not consider a 200-bed facility viable, since his group found the opposite.