ST. AUGUSTINE – Governor Rick Scott announced Jan. 26 proposed funding for three new state veterans nursing homes as part of the 2015-2016 “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget. One of the new homes, the Ardie R. Copas State Veterans’ Nursing Home, has already been approved by the Florida Cabinet to be located in St. Lucie County. The location for the other two new homes will be considered by the Florida Cabinet upon approval.
Governor Rick Scott said, “Florida is the most military friendly state in the nation and as a Navy veteran, it is incredibly important that we do all we can to help our veterans and their families. My father was a member of the 82nd Airborne and we will never forget the selfless sacrifice all of our veterans have made to ensure we have the opportunity to live the American Dream. I am proud that we are going to continue to support our heroes by adding new nursing homes and we will keep working each day to ensure all of our veterans have a great quality of life in Florida.”
Florida currently has state veterans’ nursing homes in Daytona Beach, Land O’ Lakes, Panama City, Pembroke Pines, Port Charlotte and St. Augustine. All six 120-bed skilled nursing facilities have earned the coveted Five-Star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Florida has the third largest population of veterans in the nation with more than 1.5 million veterans. The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget proposes $7.4 million from existing state veterans’ nursing home revenue to create three new state veterans nursing homes. The plan will dramatically increase capacity and will serve hundreds of more veterans.
Florida military and veterans leaders applauded Governor Scott’s proposed funding for three new state veterans nursing homes as part of the “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget.
Mike Prendergast, Florida Department of Veterans Affairs Executive Director, said, “Providing high-quality, award-winning care for our state’s aging veterans is our privilege. We look forward in future years to providing skilled-nursing care in additional areas in our state.”
Major General Emmett Titshaw said, “Florida has the third largest population of veterans in the nation, and we want to make sure that every single veteran receives the resources they need to live healthily and peacefully in our state. We are working to be the most military-friendly state in the nation, and I am grateful to Governor Scott for leading us on that mission.”
Washington Sanchez, Chairman and CEO, Florida Veterans Foundation, said, “Every day we are working to improve the quality of life for Florida veterans and Governor Scott has made veteran care a priority in our state. While we can never repay them for their incredible sacrifices, we will stay focused on doing all we can to support them and their families.”
Mark Alvarez, Legislative Chairman, Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Florida, said, “Our veterans have risked their lives in order to protect our homes and families, so it is only right that we do all we can to provide them with the services they need and deserve. I am thankful to Governor Scott for his commitment to ensure all Florida veterans have access to the resources they deserve.”
Marc Oliveri, Vice President of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) Florida Council of Chapters, said, “Governor Scott has proven once again that Florida is on the path to becoming the best state in the country for our brave veterans to call home. We can never thank our veterans enough for their service to our state, but we will remain committed to supporting veterans and their families in every way we can.”
Bobby Carbonell, Executive Director, Florida is for Veterans, Inc., said, “Governor Scott understands the importance of making the right investments to ensure we are the most veteran-friendly state in the nation. As Florida’s veteran population continues to grow, these investments will ensure we will not lose our focus in taking every opportunity to do all we can to provide for them and their families.”
Jeff Johnson, AARP’s Florida state director, said, “Floridians of all generations revere the service and sacrifice of our veterans. Governor Scott is to be commended for his plan to provide high-quality care to frail older and disabled veterans. On behalf of almost 2.8 million AARP Florida members statewide, we are proud to stand with him on this important initiative.”
Samuel P. Verghese, Secretary of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, said, “Governor Scott is dedicated to making Florida the most veteran-friendly state in the country. More than 701,000 Floridians are veterans over the age of 65, and I commend Governor Scott for this investment and for honoring our elders who have served this country here and abroad. I am proud to live in a state so committed to veterans and know that we will continue to do all that we can to honor and support them.”
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