Yesterday, the Orlando Business Journal reported (story HERE) that construction on the new VA Hospital here in Orlando has been slow and will push back the completion date, again, to December 2014.
The project has been plagued with problems from the very beginning. From lack of boots on the ground working on the badly needed facility, to conflicts over blueprints and materials between the construction company and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The finger pointing has been continuous and the progress has been slow.
There have been Congressional hearings from the Central Florida Delegation of House Representatives but it hasn’t made a difference. The date has been pushed back several times from it’s original completion date of 2012. Everyone is talking but the hammers don’t seem to be swinging fast enough for the VA to hit any of it’s projected completion dates
Right now, Orlando area Veterans have to use to VA clinic in Winter Park which is an older building with cramped facilities and an overworked staff. Vets are subject to long wait times on telephone triage before even getting the opportunity to attempt to schedule and appointment. Then they’re asked to gauge their condition on the pain scale (1-10) before being written in to see their primary care provider which can leave them waiting up to a month to actually get care. Patient advocates are absent and usually of little help when finally contacted.
I know this because I’ve been through it.
Still, there has been some progress with other components of the facility. The nursing home in the area has opened and the 60 bed domiciliary care unit for rehabbing vets is due to open next month.
That is, if there are no delays with that as well.