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Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home Faces Penalty for Infection Control Deficiencies

February 5, 2021, 6:11 PM HST
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Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home. Website photo.

Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo was slapped with a $510,640 federal civil penalty for infection control deficiencies, health officials announced Friday evening.

The deficiencies were identified during unannounced visits to the facility by The Hawai‘i Department of Health’s Office of Health Care Assurance (OHCA) on behalf of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

An outbreak of COVID-19 spread rapidly through Yukio in September 2020. Nearly all residents were infected and dozens died from the virus. As a result, the management of the home was moved from Avalon Health Care Group to the state. East Hawai‘i Region of Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation (HHSC) took over management of Yukio on Jan. 1, 2021.

The unannounced visits in October resulted in the facility being cited for not being “in substantial compliance” and for causing “immediate jeopardy to resident health and safety,” a Department of Health press release stated. A follow-up survey on Oct. 30 revealed the facility was still not being in substantial compliance and having the most serious scope and severity of deficiencies in infection control.

As a result, CMS has assessed federal civil monetary penalties totaling $510,640 to Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo for failing to correct COVID-19 infection control deficiencies and for other deficiencies and imposed other remedies.

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The remedies imposed on the facility include the denial of payment for new admissions and a directed plan of correction.

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The facility’s situation eventually improved. During a follow-up revisit of Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home on Jan. 6, 2021, inspectors found the facility to be in compliance, avoiding a mandatory termination of the facility on April 16, 2021. However, in addition to the civil monetary penalty, Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home will be denied payment for new Medicare and Medicaid admissions from Oct. 18, 2020, to Jan. 5, 2021.

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