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American Homefront

Top Contenders for Veterans' Nursing Homes to be Named

VetsHomes_staugustine.jpg
FloridaVets.org

Today, the state will reveal the top five communities that may get a new, state-run nursing home for veterans.

Florida currently operates six veterans’ nursing homes that are at 99 percent occupancy, while many others have a waiting list. So there is great interest in the results of a study that identified the veterans’ needs.

Mike Prendergast, executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs, will present study results at today’s cabinet meeting at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.

“It will have at least five recommended sites on it. The reason for that is that we know we could potentially put four in the pipeline if the funding became available,” Prendergast said. “So, we asked them to give at least five recommended sites.”

The governor’s budget includes seed money to build two veterans nursing homes this fiscal year.

The state pays one-third of the cost to build a 120-bed nursing home and the federal Department of Veterans’ Affairs  covers the other two-thirds through grants.

Prendergast’s office will ask for the top communities to present proposals. His staff will study the pros and cons of each and report their recommendations back to the cabinet.

The last veterans skilled nursing home built in St. Augustine cost more than $32 million. Each new,  nursing home will provide veterans with private rooms, and half of the 120 beds will be reserved for veterans with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.