The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is battling a budget crisis and accusations of mismanagement after an unfinished veterans hospital in Aurora, Colorado, has gone more than $1 billion over its original budget of $328 million.
The VA developed a plan a decade ago for the medical center to replace old, congested facilities for around 400,000 veterans in Colorado and nearby states.
The cost of the 184-bed hospital has now ballooned to $1.73 billion, making it one of the most expensive projects in the department’s history. The mounting costs are attributed to poor planning and mismanaged construction by the VA, among other reasons.
Threats of a shutdown have loomed over the project due to lack of money. Congress passed a short-term emergency funding bill on June 12 to continue work on the hospital until the end of September, allowing the VA to re-route $150 million to the project from within the agency’s own 2015 budget.
The VA has yet to work out a long-term funding solution as the facility still requires millions of more dollars. It is likely to be completed in 2017.
“The VA’s mismanagement of this project is inexcusable, and we intend on holding those responsible for the mistakes accountable . . . Our veterans should not suffer for the VA’s mistakes,” U.S. Representative Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, said in a statement.
Congress had rejected the VA’s earlier suggestion to cover costs by taking money from the Veterans Choice Program, which allows veterans to see private doctors after lengthy waits for medical care at VA facilities.
The project highlights the need to make the VA, one of the government’s most heavily funded departments with a budget of $160 billion, more accountable for how it undertakes construction projects and fulfills its main responsibility of providing health care to veterans.
Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC fights for veterans rights. We fight to make sure you get the benefits you deserve from the Department of Veterans Affairs. To learn more or contact an attorney about your Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, Mental Health, Sexual Assault, Hearing Loss and Tinnitus, Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability, Medical Malpractice, or Aid and Attendance claim, visit http://www.legalhelpforveterans.com/ or call 800.693.4800