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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bigger clinic for vets due in fall on Kauai


By Diana Leone
Advertiser Kaua'i Bureau

LIHU'E, Kaua'i The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will hold a pre-construction blessing ceremony today for a new, larger health clinic scheduled for use by this fall.

U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye, D-Hawai'i, and Kaua'i Mayor Bernard Carvalho will be among those attending the 4 p.m. ceremony at 4485 Pahe'e St. in the Solypsis building.

The new Kaua'i Community Based Outpatient Clinic will be near Kukui Grove Shopping Center, in a building to be renovated at a cost of $1 million by Shioi Construction, department spokesman Fred Ballard said.

At about 4,500 square feet, the new facility will be twice the size of the existing clinic at 3-3367 Kuhio Highway, across from Wilcox Hospital. There will be room for a Veterans Affairs benefits office in the clinic, Ballard said.

"We were just all crowded in there," Ballard said of the current clinic. "It will really be a nice expansion."

Several vets said last week they welcome a larger space and especially more parking.

"I come here about every six months, and space (inside the clinic) seems OK, but if we get more vets coming home, it would be good to have more room," said veteran and clinic patient Paul Yamaguchi.

The clinic employs 12 people now and will probably add one or two in the coming year, Ballard said. It offers a full range of primary care and mental health care services, and makes use of telemedicine connections with Tripler Army Medical Center on O'ahu. It also offers home health care visits and referrals to medical specialists.

It serves about 1,100 veterans, who make about 5,000 to 6,000 clinic visits each year, Ballard said.