Orlando VA Medical Center Cost $6,000 Per Veteran To Build

Orlando VA Medical Center

Benjamin KrauseDepartment of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald was elated over the opening of Orlando VA Medical Center despite three years of delays and cost overruns of $350 million. Total cost for the facility will be $665 million, and the dedication Tuesday was considered quite a celebration.

The facility’s construction broke ground in 2008 and was supposed to be completed by 2012. It will employee 3,500 workers and serve approximately 115,000 veterans each year. It will have 134 inpatient beds, 120 community living beds, and another 60 beds for rehabilitation.

At this ratio, the facility will cost around $6,000 per veteran it serves in the first year just to build. At just over 300 beds, taxpayers paid an astonishing $2 million each. That bed better be solid gold. When you add in the cost of salaries for employees, I have to wonder if these facilities make any sense at all to duplicate services that are already largely available in the community.

According to Secretary McDonald:

“We need to build the infrastructure of VA care and community care today that we need when the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan age. If we don’t close the gap now, we could be facing another crisis in VA care 20 to 30 years from now.”

Considering the Aurora VA cost overruns making that facility the most expensive hospital in history, I think it is time we take a step back to ask what VA is actually building in our name. Can we really trust VA anymore?

Source: https://www.wesh.com/health/dedication-planned-for-new-orlando-va-hospital/33202944

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  1. Veterans need to be respected and taken care of. If you want the truth and not just the politics, look at msnbc Patrick Murphy (former Congressman and airborne military) as he interviews the VA secretary this past weekend.

  2. https://fxn.ws/1Qc8TxC

    well, lookie, lookie here would ya, a former Congressman “has filed a claim against the government over the treatment he received from his Capitol doctors, claiming they failed to pass along critical information about a lesion on the organ and the need for follow-up monitoring.” he says, he was never told of the MRI’s results or need to get another. LaTourette retired in early 2013.

    wow, sound familiar Veteran’s?

    well bust my britches, lil ol Congressman can SUE his gov/mil Capitol physician! how about Veterans mr congressman, huh? why can you sue but not Veterans? sorry you’re sick, truly, but your story type has been written about via veterans multiple times over multiple years, and not many of you congressmen helped Veterans to sue their VA providers for the same whack job incompetence you are going through and worse.

    anyone holding their breath waiting on anyone in DC who will literally hold anyone at VA accountable? yet with their Capitol hill healthcare those folks can sue when they get slighted. just another reason Congress people should be mandated to utilize the VA like Veterans.

  3. I worked for a leading hospital systems company and they had 800 + hospitals in the U.S. as clients. They only sold to hospitals with over 300 beds – anything less than that was considered “small” and they didn’t bother with them. So, this hospital is on the small side, but expensive to build because they built it with gold, silver, and platinum – the loot they got from taxpayers. There are probably secret chambers inside, like the pyramids, with treasure chests filled with rubies, onyx, more gold, more silver, and more Bobbie jewels (Bobbles ?).
    Can we really trust the VA anymore? Shit yeah! All of us on this forum do. We really didally do.

  4. With this new Orlando VA my hubby still has to wait over six weeks for a appointment, mean while he still suffers.

  5. I think that politics have always and will continue to be the motivating factor in making determinations as to what we as veterans need, I wish I had a way to stop this but until we get rid of the money making situations that we all know that goes on we will never get rid of the problem, I know this might sound absurd to some, but I think that all care providers in the VA system should have to serve in a combat zone for at least 90 days. In my opinion this would allow caregivers an idea of what it is like to know the meaning of true life on enemy territory. SFC Steven Carroll Vietnam 1968,69 and 70.

  6. the one in des moines has been remodleing for years and everything is over budget also. The new ER was suppose to open about a year ago, but still is not open. One reason for the most recent delay is “they can’t fit the new furniture through the doorways” and now have to purchase all new furniture according to the chief of engineering. I heard him say it myself, or I may not believe it either.

    Leave it to a “Jeanious” at the VA to screw up something this simple..

  7. I think veterans need new nursing homes in every state and can use non-va hospitals in many other areas. One of reasons health care is so costly in the health care sector is due to all these palaces.

  8. If the new hospitals still have the same old employees, treating veterans the same way, who truly wins? The contractors. Not the taxpayers or the veterans, but the people who have profited off going to war in the first place. I am willing to bet the contractors building these facilities have a connection to someone that was a part of the VA either in the past or now. It is not unusual for former Secretaries to use the Department of Veterans Affairs and the taxpayers plus veterans to further their greed and agenda.

    I see that in the home health contractors that are used by the VA, who pay their workers just/only $25 to work for three (3) hours. Then if the veterans need more hours over the three, they have to pay $20 plus per hour. So how does that help veterans? Also, not paying the workers means you are not getting quality care. But pay construction contractors to complete a project late in the millions. Wow…just wow.

    I also wonder how long it takes for these contracts for millions and billons of dollars to be awarded. But it takes years and years for veterans to get their compensation even after they have completed the mission. Then sometimes after years they are still denied. Must be saving the funds for the next big contracting deal. You think???

    Good luck to all veterans, we are going to need it.

  9. Here we go again!!! The old $600 toilet seat cover story (usually accompanied by a Senator holding up a $2.98 Wal-Mart special) which, given the way it was presented, was pure fiction. The toilet cover was a custom manufactured container that covered the plumbing and became an integral part of the aircraft internal structure. This you could not buy at Wal-Mart nor would you want to.

    Paul Garner, TSgt (Retired), USAF
    Old East Asia hand and TET 68 survivor.

    1. What does that have to do with 300 million in cost overruns? I’ll answer that – nothing. The VA can’t bring a major project in at, let alone under, budget nor on time. Who exactly would you like to blame in Congress? (Hint – it is the administrators at the VA who created this mess).

      BTW where and when you served has no bearing on this topic.

      1. Dan, I think putting in where you have served is no big deal. I for one like to see where my fellow vets have served to see if I can relate to where they have been. I am sorry that you feel this way about your fellow vets.

      2. It has nothing to do how with how I feel towards my fellow vets. I consider anyone who served, whether they saw battle or lived in a comfy BOQ stateside to be brothers and sisters. I am sorry you feel you have to deflect from the issue and marginalize someone who responded to your point of view. These issues Ben brings up affect all veterans.

  10. Looks like Rep Miller and company didn’t get a conservative corporate lackie like they thought they would, helping in the decades long want to privatize, the people served Responsibility, for corporate profit, after the target on Shinseki was finally accomplished!! Now the tools within the agency are continue in creating the media hyped ‘scandals’ he and they need to take down McDonald, continuing what Shinseki had Finally started, with help from this Executive admin and it’s Cabinet, in building what the country served, poser patriots, has failed to do as it ignores and out right denies the issues especially from our wars, and boost their Poser, chickenhawk, Patriotism!!!!!
    USN All Shore ’67-’71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country ’70-’71 – Independent**

    “With no shared sacrifices being asked of civilians after Sept. 11″ {And Still None nor Demand There Should Be, Just Attacks on VA Personal, Conservative media hyped ‘scandals’, nothing done from previous hearings!!}

    “Why in 2009 were we still using paper?” VA Assistant Secretary Tommy Sowers “When we came in, there was no plan to change that; we’ve been operating on a six month wait for over a decade.” 27 March 2013

    Theodore Roosevelt, “A man who is good enough to shed his blood for the country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards.” 1903

    Chris Hayes : “If you can run a deficit to go to war, you can run a deficit to take care of the people who fought it” In response to Republican, long ago lost as the party of Lincoln and not just as to us Veterans, opposition to expanding Veterans’ benefits on fiscal grounds

    Sen. Bernie Sanders told Conservatives: “If you can’t afford to take care of your veterans, than don’t go war. These people are bearing the brunt of what war is about, We have a moral obligation to support them.” February, 26th, 2014

    Neither of these recent wars have yet been paid for, nor the continued blowback from the spread and growth from the policies implemented!

    Neither the long term results from, including the long ignored or outright denied existence of, till this Administrations Cabinet and Gen Shinseki, only Government branch consistent for the past six years, Veterans issues from!

    As well as under deficits most of the, grossly under funded for decades and the wars from now, VA budget is still borrowed, with interest, thus added problem creating costs, with representative who control the purse strings blaming the mostly dedicated VA personal within, that shouldn’t exist!

    “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” – Abraham Lincoln

    “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan” – President Lincoln

    USN All Shore ’67-’71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country ’70-’71 – Independent**

  11. “With no shared sacrifices being asked of civilians after Sept. 11″ {And Still None nor Demand There Should Be, Just Attacks on VA Personal, Conservative media hyped ‘scandals’, nothing done from previous hearings!!}

    Facts: Matthew Hoh {former Marine and foreign service officer in Afghanistan}: “We spend a trillion dollars a year on national security in this country.”
    “And when you add up to the Department of Defense, Department of State, CIA, Veterans Affairs, interest on debt, the number that strikes me the most about how much we’re committed financially to these wars and to our current policies is we have spent $250 billion already just on interest payments on the debt we’ve incurred for the Iraq and Afghan wars.” 26 September 2014

    Bob Herbert * Losing Our Way * : “And then the staggering costs of these wars, which are borne by the taxpayers. I mean, one of the things that was insane was that, as we’re at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush administration cut taxes. This has never been done in American history. The idea of cutting taxes while you’re going to war is just crazy. I mean, it’s madness.” Bill ‘Moyers and Company’: Restoring an America That Has Lost its Way 10 Oct. 2014

    ProPublica and The Seattle Times Nov. 9, 2012 – * Lost to History: Missing War Records Complicate Benefit Claims by Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans *
    “DeLara’s case is part of a much larger problem that has plagued the U.S. military since the 1990 Gulf War: a failure to create and maintain the types of field records that have documented American conflicts since the Revolutionary War.”

    Part Two: * A Son Lost in Iraq, but Where Is the Casualty Report? *

    * Army Says War Records Gap Is Real, Launches Recovery Effort *

    Add in the issues of finally recognizing in War Theater and more Veterans, by the Shinseki Veterans Administration and the Executive Administrations Cabinet, what the Country choose to ignore from our previous decades and wars of: The devastating effects on Test Vets and from PTS, Agent Orange, Homelessness, more recent the Desert Storm troops Gulf War Illnesses, Gulf War Exposures with the very recent affects from In-Theater Burn Pits and oh so so much more! Tens of Thousands of Veterans’ that have been long ignored and maligned by previous VA’s and the whole Country and through their representatives!

    * Push For VA Privatization, for Corporate Profit, Back on Table *
    Conservative Think, American Enterprise Institute, Tanks Own: “Sally Satel Still Selling Care for PTSD Veterans is Waste of Money”. Long Time, Vietnam, Veterans Nemesis and Denier
    Giving long time, Veterans nemesis Sally, from the Conservative Think Tank ‘American Enterprise Institute’, another big smile! Giving Conservatives their talking points and the citizens served whole heartedly following their lead as the decades long, wars from, obstruction to the peoples responsibility, the VA budgets, continues! She’s made herself quite infamous and wealthy over the decades with her writings and speeches doing what the country, especially conservatives, wanted in ignoring or out right denying the many issues of Veterans, especially from our, poser, patriotic wars!

    USN All Shore ’67-’71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country ’70-’71 – Independent**

  12. One comment which was made by Mike Strickler said this is quite a value to veterans and taxpayers. Wow, just wow! It opens 3 years late (great benefit for veterans) and had $350 million in cost over runs (great benefit to the taxpayers). Will the 3500 employees it will have be any happier than the tens of thousands of other VA employees that, on average, give the VA as a place to work a failing grade? This is not even considering the $225 million, or more, it will cost to operate yearly.

    I also am sure Ben knows accounting and he was only illustrating the waste and cost of this new medical center. At the same time, the Denver VA is years behind a hundreds of millions over budget.

    Besides, does anyone realize the veteran population will be decreasing (barring future wars) dramatically over the next ten years?

    1. Dan – think you need to check the records. The Orlando VAMC medical was appropriated at $665 million by Congress, and the project cost came in at $620 million. The $45 million savings are currently building the National Simulation Center on the OVAMC campus.

      Note I didn’t say check the media coverage…check the records, especially those of Congressman John Mica and Congresswoman Corrine Brown, both of whom pushed the appropriations. While you’re at it, check the cost per patient Americans are paying for coverage outside the VA system…it’s well above anything spent in Lake Nona.

      Watching the news is not education, it’s scuttlebutt. You can take that from from a service wounded Veteran and 24-year USAF NCO and Officer who actually knows the difference. Be proud of your VA and the men and women who have served in uniform – we certainly are!

      1. I would suggest YOU read this from a GAO report dated August 4, 2012. I quote:

        “What GAO Found
        Costs substantially increased and schedules were delayed for Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) largest medical-center construction projects in Denver, Colorado; Las Vegas, Nevada; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Orlando, Florida. As of November 2012, the cost increases for these projects ranged from 59 percent to 144 percent, with a total cost increase of nearly $1.5 billion and an average increase of approximately $366 million. The delays for these projects range from 14 to 74 months, resulting in an average delay of 35 months per project. In commenting on a draft of this report, VA contends that using the initial completion date from the construction contract would be more accurate than using the initial completion date provided to Congress; however, using this date would not account for how VA managed these projects prior to the award of the construction contract.”

        I am extremely offended and angered you think I am not proud of my fellow veterans. You don’t know me and have no right to label me in that manner. As for the employees at the VA, the information I provided how they regard working at the VA is from the VA’s own survey. According to the survey it is second to last in government employment. Also, I do check my facts.

        Finally, I don’t discuss my combat awards, disability, what I do for fellow vets or anything else that has nothing to do with the topic. Why do you find it necessary?

  13. Any Vietnam veteran who are Blue Water Navy who has had a VA claim for Agent Orange and was denied and or has an active claim for AO Senator Gillibrand wants to know who you are, The Senator introduce Senate Bill S.681 The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Agent Orange Act

  14. If you think the hospital was expensive….how much did these last two wars cost?

  15. While interesting Krause’s article and contentions are well wide of the mark. Hospitals and medical centers do not aggregate cost by the bed, especially where a large multi-specialty clinic, diagnostic center, CLC and domiciliary are included. Simple math equals simple thinking Mr. Krause; dig in a little more next time and you’ll find quite a value to both Veterans and tax-payers.

    1. I believe that Ben was speaking metaphorically and raised a good question. Regardless of how the cost is calculated, the same question looms large; does the VA really need to duplicate services that are readily available in the private sector? Some day Congress will have to address this issue, most probably when it gets beyond the simple issue of VA scheduling and into the real issues of expensive and questionable VA healthcare.

  16. I am starting to believe the VA is used as a huge “slush fund” for Private Contractors/DOD Contractors in the same way back in Cold War when you would hear of budget report investigations showing things like $100,000. for a toilet seat on Air Force One, et al. The VA seems to go “over budget” quite often with no accountability because THEY KNOW all they have to do is tell, not ask, Congress that they need MORE $$$$.

    Sec. McDonald worrying about “…potential problems with the VA 20-30 years down the road…”, which is quite laughable because Sec. McDonald obviously has some seriously large blinders on if he cannot see those problems exist TODAY and building new buildings NEVER solves a fundamental problem that THE SAME EMPLOYEES will be there, as well as Administration….kind of like “candy coating a turd”. These people never cease to surprise me in their level of audacity and hypocrisy.

    1. namnibor, I have tried to contact you on the previous post. I have some info for your brother. If you want to contact me, my e-mail is [email protected].
      I don’t know why this is happening. I have had this happen on a couple of posts and I have contacted Ben.

    2. Watch the veteran’s compensation claim denials increase – to pay for VA expenses and overruns!!

      1. Sgt-USAF-
        My theory on that is the VA is making it *appear on paper* that the backlog is being whittled away by indeed denying majority of claims, because they do not seem to include Claims gone onto Appeal stage in their statistics, so in “VA Math”, a denied claim is part of “clearing the backlog”…I could be wrong, but think it’s pretty accurate.
        Mincing of words and stats to make it look like they are doing “Vet’s proud”….meanwhile, these employees rack-up more employee bonuses for clearing the moldy stacks.

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