The Veterans Administration has a history of project cost overruns when building new hospitals. A recent article in the Denver Post outlines the sad story. Here is an excerpt…
For instance, VA officials have often touted the “lessons learned” from construction of the department’s embattled facility in Orlando, Fla., as key to avoiding similar problems with other projects. “The lessons learned from Orlando and past major construction projects are guiding us in our management of the Denver and New Orleans replacement hospitals,” former VA Construction Chief Glenn Haggstrom said in May of 2013.
But, contrary to Haggstrom’s claim, the only thing VA appears to have learned from Orlando is how to generate hundreds of millions in cost overruns at VA hospitals in Aurora and New Orleans, a facility whose $1 billion-plus cost makes it the second-most expensive hospital in VA history.
The Orlando facility was originally slated to cost around $276 million, but the hospital’s price tag had grown to roughly $665 million when it opened in May of 2015. To make matters worse, the VA is still learning painful lessons in Orlando its leaders never told the public about.
Last year, just months after the hospital had opened, the VA quietly agreed to a series of settlement payments totaling nearly $213 million to the contractor it had hired to build the facility — the same contractor it had previously blamed for many of the project’s problems. Instead of telling Congress and the public about the payments, however, the VA tried to keep them a secret. And if not for a New York Daily News investigation, they would have stayed that way. The payments brought the Orlando facility’s price tag, which VA officials had led the public to believe was around $665 million, to a whopping $878 million. View the full story… denverpost.com
From $213 million to $878 million, that’s not just over budget, it’s 412% over budget! And ‘lessons learned’ is a vital step in any project. Obviously the VA is not only not learning lessons, they are attempting to cover up the fact that they’re not.
Project Masters has done a lot of work with the government and have found them to be attentive and hard-working. Seeing things like this are just so frustrating.
Image courtesy of Andy Cross, Denver Post file