COLUMNIST DEFENDS ASSERTION OF VETERANS CARE IN STATES
A letter to the editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, written by Frank Bellinger, administrator of the Nevada State Veterans Home, was published on the editorial page of the R-J Jan. 15 taking issue with my column, “State lacks nursing home space for vets,” in the Jan. 7 Summerlin/Summerling South View.
The column included comments from Bellinger given to me in a brief interview after he addressed the Sun City Summerlin Residents’ Forum.
Bellinger devoted much of the letter to defending the quality of care given at the veterans home. Nowhere in my column did I attack or refer to the quality of care given at the facility. He also mentions that Gov. Brian Sandoval is a strong proponent of a second home to be built in Northern Nevada and that efforts are being explored for another home in the northern sector of Las Vegas. I addressed both matters in my column.
He was concerned that I wrote about a waiting list of veterans that stretches “as far as the eye can see.” I did not quote Bellinger saying that. Those were my words, meant as a figure of speech to amplify the severity of the problem.
In his letter, Bellinger stated, “We have not turned away large numbers of veterans needing the level of nursing home care we provide.”
However, noting the great number of veterans in Nevada — which has one of the highest percentages of military veterans of any state — and the fact that at present there are only 180 skilled nursing home beds for veterans in the state, Bellinger did say, “We have turned away hundreds of veterans who may qualify for nursing home care during the two years since I have been here.
“I have no idea how many were turned away before I came here.”
— Herb Jaffe, Summerlin