McCOOK, Nebraska -- Hillcrest Nursing Home in McCook, Nebraska, has been approved by the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs as a VA-contracted facility.
What that means, Hillcrest administrator Colinda Nappa told Red Willow County commissioners Monday morning, is that the VA will pay for veterans' care at Hillcrest, and that veterans will be allowed to keep their Social Security and retirement benefits.
This also means that Red Willow County veterans living in VA facilities can move "back home," Nappa said.
"This is definitely a win-win for everyone," Nappa said. "It's going to be good for everyone."
Nappa said Hillcrest has never been a VA-contracted facility before. Currently, when a veteran lives at Hillcrest, Nappa said he/she must use retirement benefits and Social Security to pay for nursing care and then receives $50 in spending money.
With the VA certification, the VA will pay for nursing care.
Nappa -- who worked with a VA-contracted facility in Wisconsin -- said there is still some paperwork and processing to take care of, but the change should take effect in December.
Nappa said that this VA process was spearheaded by Red Willow County's Veterans Service Officer (VSO) Tom Stritt, who was working with VA health system specialist Colleen O'Connor Donovan of Grand Island even before Nappa assumed the Hillcrest administrator's position in September.
Hillcrest, a county-owned nursing home, is licensed for 100 residents. As of Monday morning, it has 91 resident.
For more information on the new veterans' process at Hillcrest, contact Tom Stritt, (308) 345-2385, or see Stritt at his office at 322 Norris Avenue in downtown McCook.