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PVA Points: Denver VA Money

Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News December 2015

The long-troubled Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center in Denver, Colo., that includes a spinal-cord injury center is finally going to be completed.

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Signed into law in late September, The Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2015 includes numerous provisions extending authorities for programs managed by the VA health care and benefits systems.

Among the law’s key provisions is authorizing the VA to spend the resources necessary to complete construction of the new Aurora medical center. The VA was previously authorized to spend up to approximately $1.1 billion on the project, but that limit was set to be reached by the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1. The new authorization limit sets total final cost for the project at approximately $1.7 billion.

The one troublesome aspect remaining with this project is where the funding will come from to complete the program. Congress made clear that it has no intention of providing additional appropriated dollars to complete the project. As a result, VA will be responsible for identifying more than $600 million from its existing resources to complete the hospital. PVA believes that VA will be forced to take money from resources devoted to the purpose of providing services to veterans in other areas of the country. It also believes that this is very likely to lead to another budget shortfall by next spring or summer, particularly when coupled with what is believed to be insufficient funding being considered by Congress in the House and Senate appropriations bills.
The law also includes authorization to replace the building that houses the SCI center at the VA San Diego Healthcare System. Included in this project will be 30 acute care beds and 20 SCI long-term care beds. PVA has worked closely with VA senior leadership to see this project come to fruition.

 

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PVA Points: Denver VA Money

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