VA Misled Congress Again: New Denver VA Hospital Won’t Have Enough Rooms [VIDEO]

VA Misled Congress Again: New Denver VA Hospital Won’t Have Enough Rooms [VIDEO]

VA Misled Congress Again: New Denver VA Hospital Won’t Have Enough Rooms [VIDEO]

The new Denver VA hospital, 12 buildings in all, will have its grand opening in August 2018. Finally, after years of waiting, a brand new state of the art hospital campus will be available for our Veterans. Here’s what this new VA will offer:

  • Location and the convenience of being able to walk from the VA to University of Colorado, Children’s Hospital, or the medical school.
  • A terrific layout all designed so patients, visitors, and staff can easily navigate the hospital and surrounding area.
  • A new spinal clinic along with finally offering mammograms and PET scans.
  • 19 more beds (148 in all) than the old facility and every room will have a view.

Sounds terrific and looks amazing right?

However, there’s a $2 billion problem with all of this as Congressman Mike Coffman found out yesterday. 

It turns out the old VA facility near 9th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard will need to be kept and leased to house primary care facilities, something Coffman Tweeted Congress only learned about “recently, despite multiple hearings on this matter.”

Part of the reason the old facility will still be leased: there simply isn’t enough space in the new, $2 billion hospital. [Emphasis Added]

Wait, what??!! TWELVE buildings and there isn’t enough SPACE?? Keep in mind this new VA campus is DOUBLE the size of the old one, but there isn’t enough space.

The hits just keep coming don’t they?

Here’s what the new VA hospital in all its shiny, overrun budget glory WON’T have for our veterans.

  1. The current VA has 60 primary care exam rooms. The new VA will have 34.
  2. The current VA hospital has 20 Patient Aligned Care Teams (PACT). The new VA will only have 12.
  3. The new VA will not have a PTSD center.
  4. The new VA will not have Community Living Centers.
  5. There is ZERO evidence that wait times will be shortened.

In fact, the average wait time for an appointment at the Denver VA is 42 days. That is longer than the national average.

The excuses were legion at yesterday’s hearing. Such as: we didn’t know about PACT teams when we designed the building in 2010. Great! Good. Fine! That’s what freaking design changes are for! You had YEARS of time to make those changes to those specific buildings. But you didn’t, and that’s on you!

The PTSD clinics are spread all over the state which stretches staff thin and short changes our veterans. The team in charge of building this behemoth had years to consider augmenting and changing the design  to truly meet patient needs. But NOOOOO…

Fiotes: “I believe PTSD was taken out of the scope of the project before the final appropriation of authorization.”

Coffman: “Do you know why?”

Fiotes: “I do not recall exactly.”

Coffman: “I just don’t know how you cannot have answers to these questions and be in the position that you’re in.”

Fiotes: “Again Congressman, I’m going by what I heard, not what I experienced. I believe that PTSD was removed at the time of the authorization appropriation to bring the cost down.”

You kind of forgot to inform Congress about that, now didn’t you?

Not only that, but the project management heading up the construction has their head so far up their ass it’s a miracle they can see. Congressman Phil Roe (R-TN) pointed out one of the major flaws that the VA has never rectified regarding this project.

“I think one of the problems was, the architects and leadership didn’t involve the clinical people – the maintenance people, environmental services, nurses, physicians,” he said. “They should’ve been involved from day one. But that’s water over the dam now.”

Yeah, I guess so. Meanwhile, the VA never tracked change orders in project design, reasons for any changes, approvals, or time frames. There was zero documentation regarding the cost for bringing the new Denver VA online this summer. So when they go to turn the lights and the computers on, that testing will cost how much? No clue. The integrated master schedule has never been integrated, which explains the years of delay.

An incredible amount of waste. The ones who will be shortchanged by this are our veterans. Congressman Coffman is correct. The VA needs to “clean house” ASAP.

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6 Comments
  • GWB says:

    This is what I see every day in gov’t acquisition. It’s horrid.

    BTW, that ‘campus’ looks terrible for people who might have mobility problems. It’s laid out from heck to breakfast. Unless that’s some kind of wheelchair monorail running down the middle. (And we all know how “light rail” turns out.) You could have saved a lot of land usage (thereby providing green spaces – or white spaces in winter – for the patients) by using a circular design and going vertical.

    • Nina says:

      It is definitely horrid.

      And yes, the design has numerous flaws. You ought to see what it’s like in person when driving by… OOF.

      When the design teams don’t consult with the medical staff or even patients to get an idea of what does and doesn’t work, a $2 billion mess is what we end up with.

  • Appalled By The World says:

    No money for the VA-but plenty for illegals. I’ll just bet if this place was built to make sure illegals get all they want it would have been done right and money would have been no object. Absolutely disgusting to see what the Congresscreeps deem important-especially the members of a certain party.

  • Sam Robertson says:

    Coffman seems really upset considering no other politician had as much involvement with this project. For goodness sake, he’s the Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee (O&I). The problems are real but cry me river with your fake outrage.

    • Nina says:

      Yes he is. Actually he’s been very involved in trying to fix the VA build mess. However, consistently the VA has now shared information that they are required to. Many of the items listed in the blog post have been questioned about multiple times.

      The entire build project for the VA has been a debacle hidden by the VA from the very beginning.

      Thanks!

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