Veterans Affairs officials are actively seeking a new location for the agency's Kahului VA Clinic and hope to solicit bids as early as Sept. 30, an official said.
The Maui Community-Based Outpatient Clinic, which now leases space in a building on Hoohana Street in Kahului, must move because the current space does not meet federal seismic structural requirements, said Craig Oswald, VA Pacific Islands Health Care System strategic planner.
While Oswald said there is no deadline to move, the VA is pushing to find a suitable site to rent or identify a developer who could build a structure that would satisfy federal requirements and then lease it to the agency.
He said the VA would like the space to be in Kahului.
The VA Pacific Islands Health Care System has asked the federal government for construction funds but has not received any, so VA officials currently cannot build their own facility, Oswald said.
VA officials have known for two to three years that they needed to move and have looked before for an alternative but did not have any luck. He said Wednesday that through this push the VA has already received inquiries.
The VA clinic in Hilo on the Big Island also faces a similar situation where it must move to a new building that satisfies seismic standards.
Oswald assured the community and veterans that "medical care will still be delivered" during the process.
"The VA is going to strive to continue to deliver the highest quality of medical health care service to military veterans (that will be) uninterrupted by this potential change of location," Oswald said Wednesday.
Douglas Halbert, quartermaster for VFW Post 3850, said, "The veteran community is very supportive of this VA clinic and its desire to find new and more appropriate space for a medical clinic."
Halbert noted that the current space was not designed to provide medical services, and it will not be able to deal with the increase of military veterans in the future.
Mitch Skaggerberg of the Maui County Veterans Council said veterans groups on Maui as well as other government agencies are moving forward with plans to set up a one-stop-shop on Maui, where the VA clinic and other services for veterans could be located in one area.
Oswald indicated that having one centralized area for veterans to gather and receive services is in the VA's plans for the future as well.
Oswald said the VA has had a clinic on Maui since 1988. It has been at the Hoohana Street site for around 10 years.
He said the problem with meeting the federal seismic requirements came about when officials had to sign a new lease several years ago.
The VA rents about 10,000 square feet of space for its clinic that employees 29 people and serves around 2,500 veterans.
It provides primary medical care and some specialty medical outpatient treatment such as cardiology, dermatology and gastroenterology.
The building is owned by the Aluli Trust Estate and managed by Commercial Properties of Maui Management Inc., said its Commercial Division director, Gail Halava.
Those interested in assisting the VA may contact Contract Specialist Jerzy Brozyna (90/NCO), 3801 Miranda Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94304, or call (650) 493-5000, ext. 62090, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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