TAMPA – Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs Executive Director Mike Prendergast briefed the Governor and Cabinet on the results of an independent study recommending the construction of additional veterans’ homes in Florida. The presentation during the Feb. 6 Cabinet Meeting at the Florida State Fairgrounds discussed the formal process necessary to build additional veterans’ nursing homes in Florida and a rank order of multi-county areas with the greatest need for a veterans’ home.
“The recently completed report shows there is a high need for a state veterans’ nursing home in three different areas of the state,” said Prendergast. “We are sending letters to the counties mentioned in the study seeking their recommendations for a potential site.”
In rank order, the study recommended the area of Collier and Lee Counties as having the greatest need for a skilled nursing facility, followed by the counties of Polk, Manatee and Hillsborough, followed by the area of Marion, Putnam and Sumter Counties. St. Lucie County was listed fourth with Palm Beach County ranked fifth. All ten counties listed in the report will receive letters requesting information on potential sites.
Governor Rick Scott’s “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget” recommendation for FDVA includes a more than $1.5 million investment toward laying the groundwork for the construction of two new veterans’ nursing homes. With the recommendation of initial funding for site surveys and early architectural costs, FDVA will be able to meet the requirements to receive federal grant funds. The overall planning and construction of new veterans’ homes is a multi-year process dependent upon both federal and state matching funds.
The budget recommendation announced Jan. 29, 2014 expands FDVA’s ability to provide skilled nursing care in a state with more than 1.5 million veterans. The state’s network of existing veterans’ nursing homes has an occupancy rate averaging 99 percent. Florida currently has state veterans’ nursing homes in Daytona Beach, Land O’ Lakes, Panama City, Pembroke Pines, Port Charlotte and St. Augustine. The department also operates a veterans’ assisted living facility in Lake City.
The need for a formal site selection study, conducted by Health Strategies, Inc., was approved during the 2013 Florida Legislative Session and signed into law by Governor Rick Scott.
The Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, serving the nation’s third largest veterans’ population, celebrates its 25th Anniversary in 2014.
For more information on FDVA, visit www.FloridaVets.org.
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