A new Walla Walla nursing care facility will welcome its first residents next month.
Weather-related construction and equipment-delivery issues in January and early February caused a delay in when the home could admit residents. Officials plan to start admitting residents in early March.
The $34 million center features 80 beds and will be on the campus of the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center in Walla Walla.
The center will draw residents from the nearest 10 counties, including Benton and Franklin counties, where about 50,000 veterans live. Of these, 20,000 are age 65 or older.
The state Department of Veterans Affairs has been fielding a lot of questions from those interested in moving into the home, said Lonna Leno, the VA’s admissions coordinator.
“It’s been overwhelming – literally. We’ve had a very positive response,” she said, indicating there’s been a lot of interest from the Tri-Cities as well as surrounding counties.
The VA’s goal is to move in the first residents on Feb. 15, Leno said, explaining that the facility will open in phases since there will be eight individual homes.
It will celebrate its grand opening Feb. 18.
The facility will provide 24-hour nursing care, specifically for short-term Medicare A rehabilitative care, long-term nursing care and end-of-life care, including hospice.
The new home will serve veterans and in some cases their spouses or widows and create 100 permanent jobs in Walla Walla, the VA has reported.
Ongoing operating costs are projected at $6.8 million for this fiscal year. However, the facility will operate without ongoing state appropriations, instead relying on Medicaid, VA per diem, Medicare and local contributions.
To be eligible for admission, applicants must meet the following criteria:
Veterans with a disability rating between 70 percent and 100 percent receive nursing home care at no cost.
The center will dedicate one 10-bed house to care for veterans with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
The state and federal governments are jointly paying for the project with 65 percent of the cost paid by federal Department of Veterans Affairs, or about $22 million, and 35 percent paid by the state, or about $12 million.
Washington’s other state veterans’ homes are located in Orting, Retsil and Spokane.
For more information about admissions, contact Lonna Leno at 509-394-6806 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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