Four U.S. cities are in line to get new VA Hospitals during the next few years including Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando and a hospital in New Orleans. The new VA hospital in the Big Easy will replace the one destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has earmarked about $792 million of the fiscal year 2012 budget toward the final stages of completion for the new hospitals. That is less than one half of a percent of the VA’s massive $140 billion budget.
The new VA Hospital in New Orleans is under construction in the mid-city area of town. Congress appropriated funds for a new VA hospital in New Orleans in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city’s former facility.
The Replacement Medical Center in New Orleans is a 1.5 million square foot hospital with 120 inpatient beds and 60 beds for transitional care. The new VA hospital is being built to withstand hurricanes like the one that shut down its predecessor. It will be able to run for a week without resupply, it has a heliport and boat docks for evacuations and all mission-critical technologies are stored 20 feet above ground, according to the VA.
The new VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System in Las Vegas is scheduled to open this year. The Vegas VA hospital will have 201 beds in both inpatient and nursing home/extended care. It will be more than 1 million square feet on about 150 acres at 6900 N. Pecos Road in Las Vegas.
The new hospital will have a diagnosis and treatment building, an ambulatory care building, a community center and a mental health building, according to the VA.
In Orlando, Fla., the new VA Medical Center will be co-located with the University of Central Florida College of Medicine, the Nemours Children’s Hospital, the Burnham Institute and the University of Florida College of Medicine in an area known as Medical City.
The 314-bed Orlando VA will have 1.2 million square feet and cost about $665 million. The beds will be split between inpatient services, a community living center and a domiciliary. The Orlando VA hospital is expected to open in 2012.
Finally, the new VA hospital development in Denver, known as Project Eagle, is a $580.2 million facility on the site of the former Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center. The 180-bed Denver VA Medical Center will include a 30-bed center for spinal cord injuries and disorders. Project Eagle is expected to finish in early 2015.
The next four cities on the VA’s list for new medical centers are Seattle, St. Louis, Dallas and Palo Alto, Calif., according to the VA’s 2013 fiscal year budget proposal. All of these centers will be dedicated to the treatment and care of America’s 22 million veterans and more than a million new veterans expected to leave active duty during the next five years.