Aurora VA gets opening date as more problems revealed

VA hearing on hospital set for Wednesday
Posted at 3:43 PM, Jan 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-16 20:42:24-05

AURORA, Colo. -- The long-awaited and over-budget Veterans Affairs hospital in Aurora now has an opening date of Aug. 11, 2018. But there is much that needs to be done or redone before August arrives.

Congressional documents, obtained by The Denver Post, reveal nearly 375 fixes that still need to be done before the hospital can see patients. Those include changing the voltage system of some power outlets, removing sharp fixtures in the psych portion of the hospital that could pose a suicide risk, fixing sealed windows that block interaction at pharmacies, and replacing cabinets that can’t be properly cleaned or disinfected.

“I’m concerned about that,” Rep. Mike Coffman. R-Colo., told Denver7. “I’m going to be chasing down what the cost of doing that is, and if any of that is excessive.”

The VA sent Denver7 a statement which read, in part: “Eastern Colorado Health Care System leadership continues to work closely with its project partners to resolve issues as they arise.”

“Every time I think I know the everything, the VA has fessed up and we’re moving forward, something blows up,” Coffman said.

Both sides will get a chance to face off when Coffman and members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee question hospital leadership at a hearing in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. The VA sent Denver7 an advanced copy of their opening statement to the committee, where staffers are expected to report a 98-percent completion of the facility, with all but one structure ready to be opened. 

This list of to-dos and re-dos comes atop the revelation that the new hospital won’t have enough patient exam rooms to match the old hospital, and that the Denver location will have to remain open for 3-5 additional years. 

Coffman called that a “cover-up” of a “major design flaw” that is going to “drive costs.”