New Orleans VA hospital opens after 2-year delay

City, state and federal officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 18 to mark the long-awaited opening of the Veterans Affairs hospital in New Orleans, according to The Times-Picayune.

The completion of the hospital took "a little longer than it maybe should have," said Gov. John Bel Edwards, according to the report. The hospital was originally scheduled for completion in December 2014, but construction delays set it back two years. And although it was projected to cost about $625 million, a U.S. Government Accountability Office report said the actual cost of the new hospital came closer to $1 billion. 

The 1.7 million-square-foot Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System Veterans Medical Center, is designed to accommodate the estimated 70,000 veterans in the region, according to the report. It is next to the $1.1 billion University Medical Center that opened 15 months ago and serves as New Orleans' primary safety net and teaching hospital.

Roughly 220 physicians will work at the hospital, and it will serve as a training facility with 172 positions for medical students and residents, according to the report.

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