Columbia, SC – The South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH) has received official notification from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that construction grant funding for three additional State Veterans’ nursing homes is now available.

SCDMH is the agency designated in statute to operate South Carolina’s State Veterans Nursing Homes. The Department currently operates three such facilities: the 90-bed E. Roy Stone Pavilion in Columbia, the 220-bed Richard E. Campbell State Veterans Nursing Home in Anderson, and the 220-bed Veterans Victory House in Walterboro.

Anticipating a growing veteran population, SCDMH applied for funds in 2015 to construct three additional State Veterans nursing homes. With guidance from the State’s Joint Bond Review Committee, SCDMH identified areas with significant need for new veterans’ nursing homes and proposed locating new 108-bed facilities in Florence, Richland, and Cherokee counties.

“While we were pleasantly surprised by Congress’ appropriation of these funds, there is much work to be done by agency staff for the State to actually receive the money,” according to Mark Binkley, the Department’s deputy director for Administrative Services.

The grant guidelines specify that the State (SCDMH) must submit an extensive environmental assessment for each of the new sites, as well as preliminary design drawings by August 1, 2018. The Veterans Administration Grants Office will review the State’s documents and, if accepted, will approve a conditional grant award. The State will then have another 180 days to complete the design of the new facilities, and be ready to begin construction in order to receive a final grant award.

“Among the many important missions given to SCDMH, providing nursing care for our State’s veterans is one that the Department takes great pride in,” noted State Director John H. Magill. “With the increased capacity and added locations, veterans and their families can look forward to being able to access care closer to home.”

Under the terms of the grant, the Veterans Administration would provide up to 65% of the required funding for construction, with South Carolina funding the remaining 35%. The total cost of the three projects together is estimated currently to be in excess of $120 Million, and will have a significant positive ongoing economic impact for the State.

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health’s mission is to support the recovery of people with mental illnesses, giving priority to adults with serious and persistent mental illness and to children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances. The Agency serves approximately 100,000 citizens with mental illnesses, approximately 30,000 of whom are children and adolescents, and provides outpatient services through a network of seventeen community mental health centers and numerous clinics. It also operates multiple inpatient hospitals, including one for substance use treatment, one community nursing care center, and three veterans’ nursing homes.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2018
Contact:  SCDMH Office of Public Affairs
Phone: (803) 898-8582
E-mail: tracy.lapointe@scdmh.org