NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Tale of Two Hospitals: Parkland and the Veterans Administration

November 2, 2015

When comparing Parkland Hospital and the Aurora Veterans Administration (VA) hospital, the difference between local and federal management is clear. Parkland Hospital in Dallas County completed in August 2015 a $1.27 billion expansion. After approval from taxpayers, $747 million in municipal bonds, private donations and the hospital's reserve funds renovated the dilapidated building.

The VA hospital in Aurora, Colorado was scheduled to be completed in 2014, but lack of oversight and rejection of fiscally conservative options has left the hospital still unfinished and $600 million over budget. 

Both hospitals experienced difficulties with construction. All involved in the Parkland Hospital project, however, were held accountable -- project leadership even went as far as hiring a company to monitor spending. The Aurora VA's building designs changed repeatedly and even after a year, the $604 million hospital plan had to be reconstructed and room equipment size was not taken into account. 

Both projects were to improve hospital facilities. One was locally and privately funded, the other a large scale federal undertaking. Parkland hospital is now open, has twice the land area and has 700 more beds. The VA hospital still will not be open until 2017, and cost $500,000 more than the Dallas County project.

Thoughtless federal spending should be curtailed, as this cycle has become all too common. Local involvement, private funding and project accountability could have significantly changed the outcome of the VA hospital remodeling project.

Source:  David Grantham and Jennifer Vermeulen, "Tale of Two Hospitals: Parkland and the Veterans Administration," Townhall, October 28, 2015.


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