nursing homes

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The bills were unpaid, the phones shut off, trash piled up and eventually, food ran out.

The problems at the Benchmark Healthcare nursing home in Festus forced the state to take the unusual step of shutting it down earlier this month.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that by the time the nursing home closed amid its parent company's financial problems, employees were spending their own money to help feed residents.

The home's owner is Legacy Health Systems, a Chesterfield, Missouri-based firm that once had 27 facilities in Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee.

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The Missouri House has passed legislation that could provide an earmarked funding stream for state-run nursing homes for military veterans.