2018 Issues   /   February 2018

Rocky Mountain VAMC Construction Remains Controversial; Set to Open Later This Year

USM By Sandra Basu
February 8, 2018

By Sandra Basu

WASHINGTON—The long delayed and over-budget Rocky Mountain Regional Medical Center in Aurora, CO, is finally scheduled to open its doors in August 2018, but lawmakers are questioning why it lacks the primary care space needed and has the same number of beds as the hospital it is replacing.

“Even after the new medical center opens, VA must continue operating the old medical center, because presently some of the primary care doctors and the PTSD residential rehabilitation facility have nowhere else to go,” said House Committee on Veterans Affairs Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN).

The project has been the subject of many congressional hearings and GAO reports over the years as the originally requested design funds in FY 2004 of $328.5 million ballooned over the years to nearly 1.7 billion. The new facility is intended to replace the current Denver VA.

The Rocky Mountain Regional Medical Center in Aurora, CO, shown here in a construction photo, is finally scheduled to open its doors in August 2018, but lawmakers are questioning why it lacks the primary care space needed and has the same number of beds as the hospital it is replacing. Photo from Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

Calling it a “construction debacle,” Roe said the road to completing this hospital has “been extremely long and bumpy. This situation must never happen again.”

The view was expressed at a recent hearing where lawmakers and VA officials discussed features and activation plans for the new facility.

While Roe praised the facility’s new spinal cord injury treatment as state of the art, he pointed out the hospital has fewer psychiatric beds than the old hospital and lacks a PTSD residential facility. He also pointed out that the number of primary care rooms had been reduced from 60 to 34.

As a result, the old facility could have to stay open for as many as five years to accommodate the functions that won’t fit in the new hospital. “If it does stay open, there is an estimate that there would be $350 million dollars’ worth of work done to a campus that you are going to get rid of. None of this makes a lot of sense,” Roe pointed out.


Related Articles

Fibromyalgia Presents Differently in Male, Female Veterans

Research on fibromyalgia, a poorly understood, chronically disabling pain syndrome, generally has focused on its clinical presentation and treatment.

How Veterans Feel About Remote Management of Their Care

The VA is expanding remote management of patients to improve disease prevention and care.


U.S. Medicine Recommends


More From department of veterans affairs

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Fibromyalgia Presents Differently in Male, Female Veterans

Research on fibromyalgia, a poorly understood, chronically disabling pain syndrome, generally has focused on its clinical presentation and treatment.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

How Veterans Feel About Remote Management of Their Care

The VA is expanding remote management of patients to improve disease prevention and care.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Stick-on Monitors Help Warn of Heart Failure Exacerbation in VA Study

While implantable devices have shown promise in reducing rehospitalization for heart failure (HF), VA researchers sought to determine if options that are less expensive and non-invasive would have comparable results.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Legislation: Clinicians Must Be Involved in Formulary Design, Purchasing

Legislation to prevent VA from outsourcing creation of its drug formulary and to require more input from medical professions is being considered in Congress.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

GAO: VA Needs Better Planning for ‘Complex’ Appeals System Overhaul

SYRACUSE, NY — Despite limited evidence to support the practice, testing for Helicobacter pylori (Hp) infection is recommended for work-up of unexplained iron deficiency anemia (IDA). A study published in the journal Gastroenterology Report sought... View Article

Facebook Comment

Subscribe to U.S. Medicine Print Magazine

U.S. Medicine is mailed free each month to physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and administrators working for Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and U.S. Public Health Service.

Subscribe Now

Receive Our Email Newsletter

Stay informed about federal medical news, clinical updates and reports on government topics for the federal healthcare professional.

Sign Up