Overdue and over budget: The problem plagued VA hospital opens

Posted at 8:52 AM, Jul 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-21 10:52:43-04

It’s more than $1 billion over budget and five years behind schedule, but an elaborate new veterans hospital is finally opening with the promise of state-of-the-art medical care.

The Veterans Affairs Department ribbon-cutting ceremony takes place today at the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center in Aurora.

The $1.7 billion hospital made it through nearly a decade of management blunders, legal battles, federal investigations and angry congressional hearings.

It replaces an aging and crowded hospital in Denver. But some services will still be offered there after they were left out of the new facility when spending soared out of control.

Many new services are to be offered at the new facility. Until now, Colorado veterans who required inpatient care for spinal cord injuries had to travel to Albuquerque or Chicago. The new center’s spinal clinic puts an end to the travel.  

The new hospital is offering mammograms and PET scans for the first time.

Inpatient beds will increase to 148, which is only about 19-more beds than the old hospital. The VA plans to eventually move its PTSD residential rehabilitation program from the old hospital to the new facility to better serve its mental health patients.

For a period time moving forward, the old hospital is to remain open. 

It’s been a problem plagued project from the start. There’s still an issue with enough staffing, but the VA says the new facility will better serve our vets here in Colorado.