Udall, Bennet: $119 Million in Funding for Stand-Alone, State-of-the-Art VA Hospital at Fitzsimons on the Right Track

Key Senate Panel Approves Millions for Construction Of Veterans Hospital As Part of 2010 Appropriations Bill

Washington, DC - Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, U.S. Senators for Colorado, today announced that $119 million in funding for the long-awaited construction of a stand-alone, state-of-the-art Veterans Hospital at Fitzsimons is one step closer to reality. The funding for the VA Hospital at Fitzsimons was included at the request of Senators Udall and Bennet in the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill. The bill passed committee today and is now headed for consideration by the full Senate.

The $119 million in funding will help fund a new Community Living Center, Outpatient Clinic, and parking, with the construction of the hospital to follow.

"After years of delay and controversy about the future of Denver's VA medical center, we are finally on track to get the exceptional stand-alone hospital that Colorado's veterans deserve," Senator Udall said. "I have fought for many years to get the VA to honor its promise to replace the hospital. And I'm very pleased we were able to include funding in this bill that will enable us to move one step closer to getting it built."

"Colorado veterans have waited far too long for a stand-alone, state-of-the-art Veterans Hospital they can call their own," said Bennet. "But they've never let up the fight, and thanks to their efforts on behalf of the nearly 400,000 veterans in the Rocky Mountain West, the vision of a stand-alone, state-of-the-art VA Hospital at Fitzsimons is one step closer to reality."

In March 2009, new Secretary of the VA Eric Shinseki announced plans to move forward with a stand-alone, full-service VA hospital with comprehensive specialty care services, including a 30-bed Spinal cord Injury Center. The new medical center will provide a full range of medical, laboratory, research and counseling services including a new spinal cord injury unit. The facility, which is essential to meeting the needs of veterans throughout the Rocky Mountain region, is slated for construction in August.

On June 9, 2009, Senators Udall and Bennet joined Rep. Ed Perlmutter in testifying before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in support of the $119 million President Obama requested for the new facility in his 2010 budget. Following their testimony, on June 18, 2009, Udall and Bennet urged the Senate Appropriations Committee in a personal letter to approve that amount so the hospital could move forward.