The Legislature finds that the health and welfare of the veterans of the armed forces who are citizens of our state will be best served by the establishment of one or more skilled nursing facilities exclusively for these veterans. Furthermore, the Legislature finds that nearly two hundred thousand veterans in this state have distinguished themselves with the highest level of participation per capita of any state in the wars fought by this nation. Further, an aging veterans' population which suffers from wartime disabilities and illnesses are, or will be, in need of skilled nursing care.
The Legislature further finds that construction of an additional 120-bed veterans skilled nursing facility in southern West Virginia is needed, to be located on Department of Agriculture property in Beckley, West Virginia, adjacent to the Jackie Withrow Hospital which was formerly known as Pinecrest Hospital. The West Virginia veterans skilled nursing facility located in Clarksburg is currently at its maximum capacity and has a large waiting list for admission. With a veteran population that has now reached over two hundred twenty thousand, there is an overwhelming need for additional nursing home beds in other areas of our state to accommodate our veterans as they become unable to take care of themselves.
The director of Veterans Affairs shall establish, construct, equip and operate one or more skilled nursing facilities to serve the needs of citizens of this state who are veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States. For each nursing facility established, the director shall appoint a facility administrator and other employees as are necessary to maintain the facility and deliver quality care to residents of the facility.
The director shall request that revenue bonds, not exceeding the principal amount of $10 million, be issued by the West Virginia hospital finance authority under provisions of section seven, article twenty-nine-a of this chapter. Net profit from the veterans lottery instant scratch-off game as authorized by section nine-a, article twenty-two, chapter twenty-nine of this code and other revenues that the Legislature may from time to time appropriate shall pay the principal and interest obligations of the bonds and the architectural and other project costs associated with the construction, reconstruction, renovation and maintenance of one or more skilled nursing facilities that will only serve the skilled nursing needs of West Virginia veterans who have performed active duty in an active component of the Armed Forces or performed active service in a reserve component of the Armed Forces.
In order to qualify for service and residency in a skilled nursing facility established under this article, an applicant must have continuously been a citizen of the State of West Virginia for twelve consecutive months and must have performed active duty in an active component of the Armed Forces or performed active service in a reserve component of the Armed Forces for at least twelve consecutive months. The director shall propose a legislative rule further defining and limiting eligibility for services and residency under this article.