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Ecumen signs VA contract

Ecumen Scenic Shores honored its veterans on Monday. Raymond Peterson, Leonard Olson, Wildey "Bruce" Cameron (front row), Burt Magnuson, Howard Mallory, Thomas Sullivan (back row) and James Fletcher (not pictured) were all given certificates recognizing their service. Photo by LaReesa Sandretsky.

Two Harbors veterans now can receive nursing care closer to home.

Ecumen Scenic Shores just signed a contract with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, permitting the facility to offer services reimbursable by the VA.

"To me, it's just the right thing to do for those that have sacrificed so much," said Blaine Gamst, executive director at Scenic Shores.

Scenic Shores initiated the effort about a year ago and made it through a rigorous vetting process. VA representatives reviewed materials submitted by Scenic Shores, visited the site and spoke to residents to ask how they liked the place.

"It's quite extensive," Gamst said.

According to Gamst, Scenic Shores is the only health care facility offering VA-covered services in Two Harbors. Local veterans previously had to travel to the Silver Bay Veterans Home or to Duluth for such services.

Under the new contract, any veteran can receive 100 percent reimbursable hospice care. Other services vary from veteran to veteran based on service connectedness. Veterans can contact Terri Lanigan at 834-8450 with questions about eligibility.

Ecumen has managed the assisted-living facilities on 13th Avenue since the mid-1990s. The nonprofit purchased the facilities in 2011. They offer a wide range of senior services, including a long-term care center, short-stay rehabilitation, assisted living and home care.

"We're just grateful to have the opportunity to better serve our veterans," Gamst said.

LaReesa Sandretsky
LaReesa Sandretsky is a Two Harbors High School graduate and Duluth native who began working at the News-Chronicle in 2012 as a reporter. She took over as editor in 2014. She covers County Board, including the Lake County broadband project.
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