WASHINGTON – A veterans group Tuesday dropped its opposition to Denver's veterans hospital moving from Colorado Boulevard the Fitzsimons campus.
The change gave the proposal backed by the Colorado congressional delegation and the Department of Veterans Affairs an added boost as Congress heads to summer recess.
Adrian M. Atizado,associate national legislative director of the Disabled American Veterans,said the DAV had “serious concerns” about the proposal during a House subcommittee meeting June 11.
On Tuesday,Atizado said that,although the DAV has not passed a resolution supporting the move,it does not “object to favorable consideration” by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
Some have objected to the proposed $300 million facility at Fitzsimons because of the veterans hospital's connection to the University of Colorado's Health Sciences Center,which is moving its facilities to Fitzsimons.
Last year,Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony J. Principi did not support the move because the proposal called for the veterans hospital to be in the same building as the CU center. His objections ended when the proposal was changed to include a separate VA building.
Tim McClain,the VA’s general counsel,said Tuesday that information about any problems concerning the move,including availability of land,could be reported to Congress within 120 days if the bill passes.
While Atizado said the “VA should maintain a separate identity” from the CU center,the DAV supports strong relationships with medical affiliates.
“Affiliations bring first-rate health care providers to the service of America's veterans,” Atizado said.
However,the Paralyzed Veterans of America remains opposed to any integration of the VA and CU centers,said Carl Blake,the group's associate legislative director.
“Integrating patients in this manner would fundamentally change the way the VA provides care,” Blake said in a statement identical to his June 11 statement.
The American Legion,Veterans of Foreign Wars and AMVETS all strongly support the move to Fitzsimons.
The bill authorizing the move has passed a House committee and is headed to the House,which has recessed until after Labor Day.
No Senate Veterans Committee Members opposed the bill during Tuesday's hearing,although the committee has not scheduled a vote. The Senate plans to start its recess Friday.