In response to recent news reports, the Colorado Department of Human Services has confirmed that the State Veterans Home at Rifle is not at risk of closure. Several media outlets around the state had reported that the veterans home could be forced to close because of financial losses.
“The Department has no intention – now or in the future – of closing the State Veterans Home at Rifle, “ said Colorado Department of Human Services Executive Director Karen L. Beye. “The Rifle home has had some financial losses and administrative challenges over the past two years, but major changes have been made in the home’s operations, resulting in a profit of more than $165,000 for the first four months of this fiscal year.”
The State Veterans Home at Rifle is one of four state veterans homes in Colorado that operate within an Enterprise Fund. Profits from each of the Department-operated homes go into this shared fund, which then can cover any operating shortfalls. The “pooled” resources provide additional financial stability for the state veterans homes at Rifle, Fitzsimons, Florence (McCandless) and Monte Vista (Homelake). The State Veterans Nursing Homes generate an annual operating budget of approximately $50 million, with virtually no state General Fund dollars.
The Department plans a $2 million renovation for the Rifle facility in 2011, including funding from the Veterans Administration. Improvements are planned for the dining room, nurses’ station, activities areas, courtyard, life safety/nurse call systems and secure “memory care” neighborhood. Also, a new Main Street area will bring together a beauty shop, library and the ice cream parlor, along with display areas dedicated to each branch of the Armed Services. Recently completed facility improvements include renovated bathing areas, new bedroom furniture for many residents, library improvements and a new aviary, Serenity Room and ice cream parlor.
The State Veterans Home at Rifle has won two “Excellence in Action” awards in 2007 and 2009 for combined family and resident satisfaction. The home’s satisfaction results were in the top 10 percent among 5,000-plus long-term care facilities surveyed nationally by an independent research firm.
The State Veterans Home at Rifle provides long-term care, short-term rehabilitation, respite, hospice and secure “memory care” to veterans, their spouses and Gold Star parents.