Fanfare at one new VA hospital, delays at another
Published: August 13, 2012
WASHINGTON – A week after Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki christened a new $600 million veterans hospital in Las Vegas, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs was in Florida holding a special hearing on why a new VA hospital in Orlando will open at least a year late.
The 90-bed hospital in North Las Vegas, which includes a 120-bed nursing home and an outpatient care center, is the first new VA hospital to open since 1995. The Orlando facility was supposed to follow on its heels and open in October, but it’s been plagued by contractor and design problems.
“It is clear from today’s hearing both VA and the contractor still have a long way to go to come together and figure out how to work together,” Rep. Jeff Miller, the committee’s chairman, said in a statement after the field hearing on Monday.
The Orlando hospital will open at the earliest in late 2013, and possibly not until 2014, the committee said. The VA facility is part of a larger medical hub in Central Florida, but despite breaking ground earlier than the other buildings, it is one of the last remaining under construction. It's about 40 percent complete.
Miller said the VA needs to be a “willing partner in this effort and stay focused on the end goal – a state-of-the-art facility that will treat hundreds of thousands of veterans.”
The Las Vegas VA hospital will open its doors to patients on Tuesday.