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Bemidji Veterans Home to welcome residents in 2024

Bemidji Pioneer - 12/20/2023

Dec. 19—BEMIDJI — The Bemidji Veterans Home will open in 2024 with 24 initial residents and plans to welcome more.

"We are so excited to open our doors and begin serving veterans in the Bemidji community," Home Administrator Kevin Gish said in a release. "The facility is absolutely beautiful and our team is thrilled to be now working on site."

Groundbreaking took place in August 2021

for the 72-bed skilled nursing facility, which is located at 920 Anne Street NW in Bemidji. The home includes all private residential units and baths and will be split into two "neighborhoods" and four "households" of 18 residents each, providing a homelike atmosphere, the release said.

The home will also include a town center featuring a theater and meeting room, family dining room, meditation room/chapel and club room.

In the last month, the Bemidji Veterans Home has achieved a number of milestones, including:

* Receiving a certificate of occupancy from general contractor Adolfson and Peterson Construction.

* Moving the staff from a

temporary community office space to the home.

* Hosting new employee orientation for the latest cohort of newly hired staff.

* Planning for and scheduling inspections by the Minnesota Department of Health Engineering/Fire Marshal and Health Regulation Licensing teams.

The home will initially admit only 24 residents and must then successfully complete a recognition survey from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Once that federal VA survey is achieved, the home will continue to admit additional residents and hire the remaining staff required to care for a full facility. The home will also be pursuing its certification with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the first year of operation.

"Being here at the Bemidji Veterans Home is in a sense giving back and supporting those individuals who have been a part of my life to different degrees after having worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs previously in my career," Assistant Director of Nursing Billy Benso said in the release. "They are an extended family to me, and I am looking forward to being part of a team to deliver excellent care to those individuals who have put their lives on the line in support of our great nation."

The home is scheduling brief tours for potential residents and small stakeholder groups. A more formal, larger dedication event is planned for late spring or early summer, the release said.

To be accepted for admission, residents must be:

* Discharged under honorable conditions from any branch of the U.S. armed forces and a current resident of Minnesota, who served 181 consecutive days on active duty, unless discharged earlier because of disability incurred in the line of duty.

* The spouse of an eligible veteran who is at least 55 years old and meets residency requirements.

* Able to demonstrate a medical or clinical need for skilled nursing care.

County Veterans Service Officers are available to assist future residents with the admission application process. Admissions inquiries can also be emailed to

NewHomesAdmissions@state.mn.us.

"For many years, Bemidji community members have been ardent supporters of building a new Veterans Home," Gish said in the release. "We are very grateful to everyone for their support and look forward to opening our doors soon."

To volunteer at the home, contact Public Affairs and Volunteer Coordinator Maryhelen Chadwick at

maryhelen.chadwick@state.mn.us

or

(218) 364-8908.

For more information, visit the MDVA website at

MinnesotaVeteran.org/Homes.

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(c)2023 The Bemidji Pioneer (Bemidji, Minn.)

Visit The Bemidji Pioneer (Bemidji, Minn.) at www.bemidjipioneer.com

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