AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– After five years of delays and more than a billion dollars over budget, the VA Hospital finally has an opening date. But the new facility doesn’t have enough space, so that the old facility it was supposed to replace must remain open.

On Wednesday, Congressman Mike Coffman, a Republican representing Colorado, specifically Aurora where the state-of-the-art facility is being built, had some tough questions for the VA administrators on Wednesday morning.

(credit: CBS)

The new VA Hospital in Aurora doesn’t have enough primary care beds. In fact, the new facility has half the number of primary care rooms compared to the old facility.

(credit: CBS)

Administrators say they will need to keep the old VA Hospital, six miles away near 9th and Colorado Boulevard, open for three to five more years. The VA also plans to lease space in other buildings around Colorado to meet the needs of veterans.

Denver VA Medical Center (credit: CBS)

The cost of the facility is nearly $2 billion. Years of delays have resulted in the need for hundreds of changes. New building codes mean that all the outlets need to be replaced. The rooms are too small for current medical equipment and the air conditioning is inadequate.

Coffman called for the VA administrators involved in the project to be fired.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R) Colorado (credit: CBS)

“This project is an affront to veterans who made tremendous sacrifices and affront to the taxpayers of the United States who had to pay for this and I’m very disappointed. President Trump ran on cleaning up the VA… some progress. In this area there has been no change to the same bureaucratic incompetencies,” said Coffman.

One veteran who relies on the VA is David Ortiz.

He was injured in a helicopter crash while serving in Afghanistan. He became a paraplegic.

David Ortiz (credit: CBS)

He’s worried about staffing and service at the new VA once it opens.

“I’d like to see more accountability on the part of our elected leaders,” Ortiz told CBS4.

That said, he said the current VA hospital in Denver has been great and he hopes the care is as good at the new one. He also said there is a big difference between the people who work there and those who make decisions.

“To the employees and staff there, those of us in the community support you. We know how hard it is for you too. For those that are in leadership roles you’re accountable. You need to be accountable,” he said.

The VA also said in addition to $340 million to equip and furnish the hospital, it will need an additional $13 million for a PTSD clinic at the new facility that was eliminated a couple of years ago to save money.

  1. Pam Drake says:

    ok I have to vent, my Jim has needed a left hip replacement, it is end stage oa/djd, bone on bone, his pain is so bad he spends most his time in bed on his right side so he is comfortable, his averaly pain is 8-10/10. The Ortho doctor in Denver has ran him through all sorts of hoops, first the Doctor was concerned about his teeth, so he had to be cleared by a dentist, we got that done. Got his surgery scheduled and the day before surgery they CANCELLED his surgery because Jim had a couple scratches/lesions on his arm, the doc said as soon as all his wounds were healed he would be first in line for surgery. So now today, wounds all healed, teeth ok The Ortho doctor feels he can not offer Jim the surgery because he feels that the pain is not his hip, its his back, and Dr Park does not feel the surgery would help Jim.. WTH!! Needless to say, Jim is disappointed, livid, upset, and every other emotion under the sun right now. We are going to try to get him on the VA choice so we do not have to go to Denver all the time. So much for our good reports of Denver hospital. Any suggestions are welcome!! Just keep Jim in your prayers that some way we can get his pain taken care of for him.

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