VA tells Congress it has plan to pay for troubled Aurora hospital

(Image: Courtesy U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)
<p>An artist&#039;s rendering of the under-construction Veterans Affairs hospital in Aurora, Colo. (<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">More images</a>) </p>

The Veterans Affairs Department has told Congress it wants to dip into a $5 billion fund for improving health care to finish the over-budget Aurora VA hospital.

Adam Bozzi, a spokesman for Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, said Monday the VA wants to transfer $830 million from that fund to finish the hospital.

"It’s encouraging that the VA appears to be identifying real dollars to complete this hospital for Colorado’s veterans," he said in an email. "Now we need to ensure there is full accountability and transparency for this project and others moving forward."

Congress allocated the $5 billion for a broad range of improvements in veterans' access to health care, including hiring more physicians and better efficiencies.

A VA spokesman didn't immediately return a call.

Bozzi says Bennet believes identifying the money is important but the VA must also show how it will discipline those responsible for the cost overruns.

The hospital is now expected to cost $1.73 billion. Last year, the VA estimated it would cost $630 million.