The new Walla Walla Veterans Home expected to welcome its first residents Feb. 15, but weather and construction delays pushed back the opening date.
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, on the campus of the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center in Walla Walla, features 80 nursing home beds.
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 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 65 or older.
The state and federal governments are jointly paying for the project with 65 percent of the cost paid by the federal Department of Veterans Affairs, or about $22 million, and 35 percent paid by the state, or about $12 million.
The new home will serve veterans and in some cases their spouses or widows, and create 100 permanent jobs in Walla Walla.
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 have served at any time in any branch of the Armed Forces; received an honorable discharge; live in Washington state; be the spouse or widow of an eligible veteran; or be a Gold Star parent, which is a parent of a service member killed in action.
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.
Washington’s other state veterans’ homes are in Orting, Retsil and Spokane.
The Walla Walla Veterans Home will celebrate its grand opening at 1 p.m. Feb. 18. To RSVP, call 800-562-0132, then press option 1.
For more information about admissions, contact Lonna Leno at 509-394-6806 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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