ST. PAUL, MN – Veterans seeking skilled nursing care in southeastern Minnesota can look forward to a summer 2023 opening of the future Minnesota Veterans Home in Preston. Officials from the Minnesota epartment of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) shared that good news during a virtual meeting with Preston community stakeholders last week.
Indeed, the most common questions MDVA leaders are receiving so far is regarding dates for when veterans can apply to live in the new nursing home and dates when the new home will open. The home will be located at 1112 Overlook Drive on a 15-acre blufftop site surrounded by a 200-year-old native white oak forest.
“We appreciate the Preston stakeholders and community members who joined us during the meeting,” said MDVA Commissioner Larry Herke. “Our commitment to, and pride in, this project remains strong. Great progress is being made on construction; we are on schedule and looking forward to the summer of 2023 when we open a beautiful new veterans home in Preston.”
A groundbreaking event was held in August 2021 and construction started shortly thereafter.
The Preston Veterans Home will include 54 private residential units with private baths split into three, 18-resident “households” avoiding long institutional-feeling hallways. Public spaces include a Town Center featuring a small coffee shop/cafe, theater/meeting room, family dining room, meditation room/chapel, and club room.
Simone Hogan, MDVA senior director – Veterans Healthcare, discussed resident admissions and said that the home will be able to accommodate residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease with a memory care unit. The number of rooms dedicated to memory care will depend on the residents who are admitted. As the time draws near, MDVA will publish a number of communications regarding the timeline to submit resident applications. More information will also be available on MDVA’s website at MinnesotaVeteran.org/FutureHomes.
“We plan to start accepting applications in September 2022, and there are several efforts underway to ensure it is a seamless and easy process including one point of contact,” said Hogan. “Admissions will be based on the Minnesota Administrative Rule 9050 process that we are required to follow. As of now, we anticipate the first residents moving in June 2023.”
To be eligible for admission, Residents must be a Minnesota-eligible veteran per Minnesota Statute 197.447, or be a spouse of an eligible veteran, or be a Gold Star Parent, and meet the clinical need for skilled nursing care. Interested veterans can work with their local County Veterans Service Officer on the application process. For admissions inquiries, email NewHomesAdmissions@state.mn.us.
“We’re grateful that the Minnesota Legislature worked last year to ensure operational dollars would be available to open the home and care for residents,” said Douglas Hughes, MDVA Deputy Commissioner – Veterans Healthcare. “During the current legislative session, we’re hopeful that legislation supported by Governor Walz and local legislators to offset unexpected construction cost escalations will pass with bi-partisan backing. Our number one priority is to deliver an exceptional environment of care to serve those who have served.”
Kari Bautch, MDVA Human Resources director for the new Minnesota Veterans Homes, highlighted the staffing needs for the new home, with 115 employees needed to fill full- and part-time positions. Roles will include a range of positions from the home administrator and healthcare staff to housekeeping, maintenance and food service workers. Hiring for leadership roles will likely begin in fall 2022 with direct care and other staff being hired in phases leading up to the opening of the new home and beyond. For employment inquiries, email NewHomesJobs@state.mn.us.
For more information, visit the MDVA website at MinnesotaVeteran.org/FutureHomes.