A definite need

The process to build a second state veterans home in Oregon likely will be a long one.

"We don't know when we would be funded," said Tom Mann, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs. "We have applied for a grant. We learned this week we have been put on a list. But we are way down on that list."

Under the requested federal grant, 65 percent of the cost of the $42 million construction project would come from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs with the rest coming from the state, Mann said.

Studies by the federal VA have shown there is a demand for providing at least 800 more beds for patients who fit state veterans home requirements, he said.

"The question now is where we would put a second state veterans home," he said. "This will be a public process. We are starting to hear from communities. The folks in White City are very interested. We've also heard from Roseburg, Wilsonville, Bend and others. There is a lot of interest out there.

"As these communities come forward, there will be hearings and studies. The state legislature is likely to get involved. But at the end of the day, the director of the department (Jim Willis) will make the decision."

Access and availability will be important factors in the site selection, he said.

The current state veterans home in The Dalles provides a 151-bed facility with professional medical, nursing and rehabilitative services. It is certified for both Medicare and Medicaid.

To be eligible for the facility in The Dalles, a patient must be a military veteran with an honorable discharge, a surviving spouse as defined by the federal VA or a parent who lost all of his or her children while they served in the military.

Patients must be in need of nursing home care and be able to pay the resident's portion of the cost of care or be eligible for Medicaid.

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