Nevada Veteran Home Rate To Double

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Some Nevada veterans living at the state's skilled nursing home in Boulder City are in line for a severe case of sticker shock.

The state's Office of Veterans Services is more than doubling the rate most residents pay, from $50 to $101 a day, starting April 9.

Gary Bermeosolo, administrator of the Nevada Veterans Nursing Home, said the size of the increase is a shock to veterans and their families but necessary because rates have not changed since they were first established in 1999.

The home will look at implementing smaller annual increases in future years to keep pace with inflation and avoid big jumps in rates every few years, he said.

"This should never happen again, ever. This is a one-time shot," he said. "It's painful, I know."

Suzanne Sevalstad, whose husband is a resident, said the increase is too large and comes too quickly for many families to prepare.

"I'm probably better off than some," she said. "I've seen women crying because all they have is their husband's pension, and all of it will go for the nursing care now."

A former accountant at the home who resigned in January questioned whether the staff has done everything possible to collect all the money due their clients them from government programs.

"They need to make sure they are receiving all possible revenues from all sources before going to the residents," said Mary Pontiff, who said she left in frustration over the inadequate collection efforts.

The home also was mentioned by the legislative auditor in a highly critical audit of the Nevada Office of Veterans Services. While agency staff were praised for their efforts, serious problems with the home's startup were noted.

Residents and family were briefed on the rate increase Saturday. It was approved by the home's governing board, and takes effect for the 75 percent of residents defined as "private pay," those who don't have insurance or government programs to pay for the full cost of their care at the home.

Those receiving assistance from Medicaid or who have insurance do not pay any amount now and won't pay under the increased rate either.