by Max Brantley
It housed 70 people.
If the feds come through, the state is about to embark on a plan to spend $300,000 per person just to build the facility and then provide $4 million or more each year (about $60,000 per person annually) to operate it. I'm late to this discussion. And I don't mean to diminish by one bit a state commitment for filling the gap for the small number of veterans who aren't covered by other federal programs.
But should the state be in the nursing home/residential facility business for such a small population niche? Our operating record to date isn't good. Would outsourcing, or state payment for comparable housing in independent facilities, be as good or better and less expensive? I'm just thinking out loud. I'm confident there's a reader who can explain the need for a separate and dedicated state facility, abysmal as they have been to date.
UPDATE: Here's the list of 33 site proposals. Cissy Rucker, the director of state Veterans Affairs, says her agency is also considering some contract proposals and that she'll be moving ahead carefully.