New hospital may have a $1 billion pricetag

The costs to build a new Veterans Affairs hospital in Aurora, Colo. has continued to spiral out of control and could eventually top $1 billion reported the Denver Post.

The hospital, which would replace an existing VA facility, has experienced approximately $400 million in cost overruns, putting it about 65 percent over its original budget of $604 million, according to the Post.

That means the medium-sized facility, with 182 patient beds, would cost more than $5 million per bed. Construction work began in late 2011.

According to a Government Accountability Office report issued last May, the cost of construction was estimated at $800 million, and the hospital pushed back its opening from February 2014 to April 2015.

Kiewit-Turner, the building contractor on the project, said the VA is to blame for the bloated costs. "Throughout the design phase of the project, the VA's design documents were frequently issued late and less complete than promised," the Post said of a grievance Kiewit-Turned filed with Congress. It has requested that work be halted until the VA either redesigns the hospital to fit within the allotted budget or receives more money from the federal government. The VA has refused to stop the project, according to the Post.

The VA is currently overseeing the construction of 50 medical facilities across the country, according to the GAO, and overruns on hospital building projects are averaging $366 million apiece. Although the report said the VA was not entirely to blame for the cost overruns, the GAO blamed the agency for lax construction management.

To learn more:
- read the Denver Post article
- check out the GAO report

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