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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs
  • The house Passed September 16th, 2014
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      House Committee on Veterans' Affairs
      Health
      Oversight and Investigations
    IntroducedNovember 21st, 2013

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What is it?

H.R. 3593 would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to hire special project managers to oversee three existing construction projects in Colorado, Florida, and Louisiana. It also dictates that for all future major medical facility projects under the VA, the VA Secretary will:
  • Use a medical equipment planner as part of the architectural & engineering firm for the project.

  • Develop & use a project management plan to ensure clear and consistent communication among all parties.

  • Subject the project to construction peer excellence review.

  • Develop metrics to monitor change-order processing time & goals that are consistent with the best practices of other federal agencies (change-orders are basically modifications to a planned project).

  • Use design-build processes to minimize multiple change-orders.


This bill expresses the sense of Congress that:

  • The management of major Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center construction projects has been an abysmal failure.

  • The VA Secretary should implement the recommendations of the Comptroller General’s report on improving VA construction procedures.

  • Management of the major medical facility projects in Denver, Orlando, and New Orleans should be overseen by an independent project manager from the Army Corps of Engineers.


The bill directs the Secretary to procure at least one project manager from the Army Corps of Engineers who has experience managing construction projects with budgets exceeding $60 million. This would be an ongoing appointment until the Denver, Orlando, and New Orleans projects are completed. The special project manager would submit detailed plans and progress reports of the covered projects to specific congressional committees.

These reports will include all changes ordered by the VA, and recommendations for improving construction operations to reduce costs or complete the project sooner.

Impact

Veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Army Corps of Engineers, relevant congressional committees.

Cost

$3.00 Million
The CBO cost analysis concludes that hiring the special project manager(s) and their support teams will cost $3 million over the 2015-2019 period. Implementing the new construction procedures for future VA projects will have no budgetary impact.

More Information

 In-Depth:

In early 2014, a VA Health Administration scandal broke — widely publicized after it was revealed that 35 veterans had died waiting to receive care from VA healthcare facilities.

These deaths occurred because VA officials used unofficial waiting lists that led to many veterans being subjected to egregious wait-times before receiving care. VA officials received bonuses for making wait times appear shorter, which led to veterans being placed on the unofficial waiting lists. A VA audit after the scandal came to light found that over 120,000 veterans were on the waiting lists or never received medical care, citing demand that exceeded capacity as a contributing factor in the crisis.

The Denver, Orlando, and New Orleans VA hospitals are the focal points of the VA’s new facility construction efforts, but they have been blighted by problems. As a result of the repeated failure of the VA to keep these construction projects on-schedule and on-budget, Congress has intervened to address the cost overruns and delays.

The Orlando VA facility was supposed to be completed in 2012, but is only nearing completion this year and is at least $150 million over budget. The Denver VA project initially had a completion date in February of 2014, but that has been delayed by at least a year, in addition to being $470 million over budget. At the New Orleans hospital, the project’s completion has been delayed by 14-months and is $370 million over budget.

Media:

Sponsoring Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) Press Release

CBO Cost Analysis

Washington Times - Orlando Facility

Government Accountability Office - Denver Facility

The Denver Post

The Orlando Business Journal

WDSU News - New Orleans facility

(Photo Credit: Denver Post)

AKA

VA Construction Assistance Act of 2014

Official Title

To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the construction of major medical facilities, and for other purposes.