Congress holds hearings in Denver regarding VA shortfalls

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DENVER -- Washington came to Denver on Friday with a Congressional Veterans Affairs Committee hearing at the Colorado State Capitol.

At the hearing, which lasted a little more than an hour, Rep. Mike Coffman lead a group of congressmen questioning the VA’s effort in Denver.

“It is just offensive what occurred in my hometown of Aurora,” Coffman told VA leaders.

Coffman is referring to the price of the new VA Hospital in Aurora -- now listed at $1.7 billion, triple the original cost. Other items brought up during the hearing include the way in which employees are disciplined at the Denver VA.

Coffman’s office discovered a pharmacy tech was never fired for stealing and attempting to use drugs while at work.

“If you can’t get fired for that what can you get fired for?” Coffman said.

Other members of Congress questioned the manner in which the Denver VA organized itself after pictures showing medical records with water damage were shown.

“When you look at these photos you see there is terrible disarray,” Rep. Doug Lamborn said.

After the hearing, VA officials said the criticism will help it improve.

“I think some of the comments and feedback will help us provide a better service in a better manner,” said Ralph Gigliotti, a network director with VA in Denver.