Friday, June 22, 2018

VAMC Northport - (weekly) News Dump - Part 1


The legacy of:

 Scotty “Lock The Door” Guermonprez

Vinnie “Three fingers” Immitti

Philly “The Fat Man” Mo-Shitt-A

Robert “The Shyster” Schuster

ETC., ETC., ETC......

Coming soon! Watch for this posting on the fences surrounding Bldg.’s 1 &2







And, this from the NY Times:
Schumer Calls for Emergency Funds for Long Island Veterans’ Hospital


“We have an emergency here, worse than most other places,” Senator Chuck Schumer said outside the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Long Island on Monday

Credit Johnny Milano for The New York Times
NORTHPORT, N.Y. — When the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center was built early in the 20th century as a haven for psychiatric and tuberculosis patients, the cooling system consisted of fans and open windows. Today, in several buildings on the 268-acre campus, things are not much different.

“We have an emergency here, worse than most other places,” Senator Chuck Schumer said outside the troubled Long Island facility on Monday. “It’s hard to believe, but the dog days of summer are on our doorstep, and to do surgery and treatment, you need a temperature that’s relatively temperate.”

Mr. Schumer called for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington to cut an emergency check for the replacement of the heating, cooling and ventilation systems across the medical center’s campus, where failing units have forced the cancellations of surgeries for weeks and months at a time.

Senator Schumer, Democrat of New York, helped negotiate a bill, signed into law that allocates $4 billion to veterans’ hospitals across the country. Northport needs $15 million of that, Mr. Schumer said.

The air-conditioning unit in the main hospital is 12 years past its expiration date, according to a statement from Mr. Schumer’s office. Among its other needs is an HVAC unit for four second-floor rooms that are intended to house patients with infectious diseases.

Several more buildings on campus need new HVAC units, including Building 5, which has had three failed HVAC units for over four years, and Building 7, in which the units are infested with rats and inoperable, the statement said.

As recently as February, Mr. Schumer said, the center shut five operating rooms, postponing 18 surgeries, because of HVAC problems. In 2016, the medical center closed its operating rooms for four months because particles from the HVAC system were blowing into operating rooms.

“Can you imagine, if you’re a veteran, or a family member of a veteran, you desperately need an operation, they say, ‘We can’t do it,’ not because the doctors aren’t there, not because you don’t deserve it, but because the HVAC system is so deteriorated that gunk is blowing into the operating room,” Mr. Schumer said.

Scott Guermonprez, the director of the Veterans Affairs center, previously served as director of the center in Albany. A Northport native who spent 30 years in the Air Force, he assumed the Long Island post in June after Philip C. Moschitta retired, amid an investigation into the center’s shortcomings. A spokeswoman for the House Committee on Veterans Affairs confirmed on Monday that the congressional investigation was continuing.

“Most V.A.s are set up as a tower, like a single tower structure, that has almost a million square feet in one building,” Mr. Guermonprez said. “We have 72 buildings and 1.4 million square feet spread across the campus.”

The Northport center also has a new chief of engineering, Mr. Guermonprez said, and is hiring people with the necessary skills and abilities to make improvements. Replacing heating and cooling systems now comes with a fringe benefit, he added: energy efficiency.

Standing on Monday near the temporary cooling system installed behind Building 11, Mr. Schumer started, “We’re here at this great facility”.

He paused, then corrected himself. “I shouldn’t say great,” he said. “I should say, ‘this very necessary facility.’”



With articles like this in mind, and there have been many over the years, when Senator Chucky “Photo Op” Schumer calls for $15 million in maintenance aid to this facility, he is not talking about upgrading anything at that price. $15 million just about covers the D-9 Bulldozers needed the knock the entire place to the ground. Another $15 million would be needed to haul off the debris, and yet another $15 million to effect any soil remediation needed.

Before you do any of the preceding actions, the entire hospital would need a new home; either leased, or built. You would be talking another $300 million to start that ball in motion. For a mere $729 million (out of a $186 Billion annual VA budget), VA could build a new high-rise hospital at the Northport site or in Brentwood, and the whole project could be up and running inside two years. If they insist on placing Band-Aids of the existing structures, the entire campus will implode within ten to fifteen years. This would be literally like applying a Band Aide to a sucking chest wound.

This could easily have been averted if anyone in power at VA Central, VA Regional or VA Northport actually gave a shit, and had done the right thing. The bulk of the blame falls squarely on the “hospital Director”. If the hospital does not ask for the maintenance funds, dollars don’t miraculously fall from the sky into the maintenance budget. It looks like things haven’t changed a bit despite all the rhetoric and gum-flapping to the contrary.

The hospital management, over the years, thought it more appropriate to take full advantage of the formula that dictates their annual bonuses. When you show Washington that you are “saving” money, your bonus gets a nice little shot in the arm (ref. the Federal Register for the formula).

Please be advised, the Joint Commission still calls this place a hospital.

Well, wouldn’t you know it? The weather is starting to warm up. You know what that means! Our little Shangri-La will be wanting some hospital grade air conditioning. Oh, what could possibly go wrong this year?

Hey, VA! This is how you do Air Conditioning.
                                                                          $4.7 million!!!!!
                                                               as seen in Newsday... 







“The ‘Chatty’ Chronicles”

Word on the street has it that “Chatty” Cathy Cruise (soon to be hospital Director) is running around touting all the planned capital improvements in the pipeline. She has glossy color renditions of the final projects, which include, but are not exclusive to: 1) a new Emergency Room, 2) a new Intensive Care Unit, 3) a new PTSD treatment Unit, 4) completion of the Dialysis Unit & Ambulatory Surgery Unit - both under construction for the past ten years, 5) brand new campus-wide state-of-the-art Security System, 6) a private/public partnership to construct an Assisted Ling Complex for Veterans, 7) Valet parking area on the footprint of Bldgs. #1 & #2 after their demolition, 8) reconstruction of all the campus highways and byways. For good measure, she has a short list of more buildings to be condemned and demolished (Pool/Rec. Bldg., Bldgs. #5, #7, #11, #65, and more. All this in a 5-year plan! There isn’t a Management person at this hospital who can change their underwear in 5 years let alone tackle what “Chatty” is trying to sell. Chatty” Cathy, et alia, must be smoking whacky weed. They don’t have the cash to do this, either. Even if they found the cash, they would fuck it up. 
Oh, and catch this load of crap!
Every Service Department and every Employee will be consolidated into Bldg. #200. This is their way of dealing with toxic 90-year old buildings. But, wait...Bldg. #200 has its own toxicity problems, so they are throwing everyone from the frying pan into the fire. But, wait again...where are all these Services and Employees going to fit in Bldg. #200? I guess they will simply have to cancel all non-essential Services and fire employees.

Will the Joint Commission still 
be able to call this Facility a hospital?

And, are you all ready for your next hospital Director? Let’s take a look at “Chatty’s” qualifications:

Associate Chief of Staff, Rehabilitation Medicine and Extended Care
          Northport VA Medical Center
          June 2016 – Present (2 years) 
Chief, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
          Northport VA Medical Center      
          March 2016 – Present (2 years 3 months)
Chair, National VHA Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Leadership         Council
          Veterans Health Administration
          October 2005 – Present (12 years 8 months)
Chair, VISN 3 Rehabilitation Council
          July 2001 – Present (16 years 11 months)
Chief Health Informatics, VISN 2
          October 2015 – February 2016 (5 months)
Director, Virtual Health and Rehabilitation Programs, VISN 2 South
          May 2003 – February 2016 (12 years 10 months)
Physiatrist, VA New York Harbor Healthcare System
          July 1995 – February 2016 (20 years 8 months)



Friday, May 25, 2018



There seem to be plenty of folks in the Primary care Department that are ecstatic over the removal Mandar “The Magnificent” Tank. There’s only one little hiccup; “Jumping” Gerry Cruise is even worse for a whole set of different reasons.



VA Nepotism and VA “Medical Ethics” at its Finest!

The Cruise Dossier:

On 4/16/18 Hussein (the Horrible) Foda sent out a memo congratulating “Jumping” Gerry Cruise (hubby of Northport Chief O’ Staff, “Chatty” Cathy Cruise) on his appointment as the new Chief O’ Primary Care. The announcement mentions that “Jumping” Gerry did his fellowship in Oncology at NYU, but the VA database doesn’t indicate that…because “Jumping” Gerry never completed his fellowship in Oncology, so he isn’t board certified in Oncology. 

Despite the fact that he’s not board certified and didn’t complete his training, he’s treating cancer patients at Northport VA and he’s supervising Oncology trainees. Can you name another hospital where this is allowed to happen? NO!

An additional issue: Why is it that the most qualified person for the Chief O’ Primary Care position “just happens” to be the husband of Hussein “The Horrible” Foda’s supervisor, “Chatty Cathy” Cruise?? Apparently, no one else interviewed for the Chief O’ Primary Care position - by design. According to staff in the know, there have been past problems with “Jumping” Gerry completing administrative work in a timely fashion, as well as problems with quality reviews of his patient care. So, there is no one more qualified for this important position in VA nationally other than “Jumping” Gerry who left his fellowship under unclear circumstances and he just happens to be the husband of Northport’s Chief O’ Staff?

Staff are furious at your blatant demonstration of nepotism, Chatty Cathy! This was OVER THE TOP, even for YOU!


The “Chatty” Cathy Update! (It’s a family affair,now!)

Cruisin’ for a fight!

“Chatty Cathy”, Northport’s Chief O’ Staff recently completed the “VA Senior Executive Service (SES) Training” for those who are in the running to be future directors of VA facilities. In order to qualify for this training the VISN Director must nominate the trainee. Looks like VISN Director, Joan “Of Arc” McInerney, wants to make “Chatty” Cathy the Director at Northport… If I were you, Scotty “Lock the Door”, I would watch my back because it looks like Cathy is aiming to take your place…

“Chatty” Cathy has been breathlessly running around Northport VA claiming that she and the Director have a 5 year plan to redesign the ICU, Emergency Dept., PTSD Unit, upgrade the security system, demolish Buildings 1, 2, and others, repave all the parking lots, and then enter into a public / private partnership in order to build an Assistive Living Facility for Veterans on the campus. She’s even showing people all the artists’ / architects’ drawings! Does ANYONE really believe this, considering that the Ambulatory Surgery Unit and the Dialysis Unit have been under construction for almost 10 years??


A message from our “acting” dear leader in DC...

April 18, 2018, 09:28:00 AM

Nearly $700 Million in State Veterans Home Funding Leads to New Construction Projects

Funding Represents Largest Appropriation in Program’s History

WASHINGTON — Recently the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it will use $685 million in funding from Congress to fund several State Veterans Home construction projects through the VA State Veterans Home Construction Grant Program.

The new funding can be used where needed for repairs, renovation or new construction, and is part of an Omnibus Bill that represents the largest allocation to the more than 50-year-old State Veterans Home Construction Grant Program; funding for the program has averaged $94 million over the last five years.  The State Veterans Home Construction Grant Program provides up to 65 percent of the cost to build and renovate facilities.

“This program has been operating with a backlog of applications for construction projects,” said VA Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie. “This new allocation will let us fund projects on our priority list, many of which have been waiting for years. We thank Congress for its commitment and support of Veterans across the country.”

Plans for the new funding include at least 52 projects including bed replacement projects in Massachusetts, Michigan and Wisconsin; life safety projects in Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas; new construction projects in Arizona, Hawaii, Illinois, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia; and general renovation projects in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Wisconsin.

“As the largest appropriation in the more-than 50-year history of this program, it demonstrates just how strongly President Donald Trump cares for and is keeping his promises to our nation’s Veterans,” Wilkie said.
                                      JUST ASK THIS MAN...

As seen on “Oprah”, everyone in the audience

is going home with a new hospital bed!

Oh, whoop-dee-doo...We’re all getting new beds. That’s nice! How about the rest of the dump?


“Dummy” Doug Murdock Update!

Dumb and Dumber at it again!

“Dummy” Doug, ex administrative aide to “Chatty” Cathy Cruise has been re-assigned to Data Management, or more correctly in the VA system – Data Manipulation. Now, both of the employees in Department O’ Data Manipulation Service now hold no degrees or certifications relevant to data analysis – Mike “The Data Scrubber” Santillo is an ex-cop and “Dummy” Doug is a social worker. Rumor has it that “Chatty” Cathy plans to replace “Dummy” Doug with one of her good old friends from the VISN, as soon as she gets around-to-it. Cronyism reigns supreme at Northport VA!


Keith “Eat my Meat” Butcher Retirement Party Update:

“The Butcher Shop”

Keith “Eat My Meat” Butcher, former Department O’ Health System Specialist & Assistant to Associate Director Colleen the “Co-Conspirator,” retired recently. What degrees, certifications, or trainings had he completed which qualified him for this high-level VA job? Absolutely none; unless a degree in COSMETOLOGY is a suitable qualification. Yes, a HAIRDRESSER was the Health System Specialist & Assistant to the Associate Director of a VA hospital. 

Are you beginning to see a pattern here? The fish rots from the head down, and when you consider that Joan “Of Arc” McInerney was fired by Nassau University Medical Center and was unemployed for three years before getting a job at the VA – it all makes sense. Excellent qualifications are not necessary in VISN 2 to get ahead, it’s not what you know – it’s who you know. Philly “The Fat Man” Mo-Shitt-A was a friggin’ Gym Teacher! That’s why it’s hard to recruit and retain excellent clinicians at VA. Kristin Sievers, a long time crony of Colleen “The Co- Conspirator” Luckner, the Associate Chief of Staff, is replacing “Eat My Meat” Butcher. What are Sievers qualifications to be a “Health Systems Specialist?” None really, unless you consider participation in the bogus VA “Bridges Program” to be a form of “health systems” training - which it is NOT.


Steve the Snake Snyder Update:

The “Snake” Files:

Our resident “Snake” claims that he is transferring to Honolulu VA to take up the HR Service Chief position. Why would anyone want him in charge of their HR Dept. unless the goal was to make their staff miserable? Good riddance, Steve “The Snake” Snyder, you’ve single-handedly demoralized the entire staff and created enough in the way of legal problems ($$$ millions) at Northport!

Our sincerest sympathies to the staff of Honolulu VA.


Christopher “Toddles” Goodman Update

“ The Toddles Ultimatum”

“Toddles” Goodman, ex Northport Public Affairs Officer, has been busted from GS 12 down to a GS 6 salary level by Steve “The Snake” Snyder for the “offenses” of referring to Northport VA as “chaotic” and a toxic work environment in an email message intercepted by “The Snake” and his side- kick Christian “Bocce Balls” Boccone. Not only did “Toddles” exercise his right to freedom of speech in an email - he also refused to go along with lying to the press at the behest of management about the living conditions veterans experienced in Northport’s Beacon House! Oops! That’s a No-No at Northport.

          The nerve of that man to tell the truth and express his opinion! Reportedly, “Toddles” signed one of Steve the Snake’s famous “Last Chance Agreements”, wherein Toddles waived his right to file a legal action against Northport VA in exchange for the “right” to continue to work there at the reduced salary. In the event that “Toddles” is found to do ANYTHING even remotely unacceptable to management in the next year, “Toddles” has to agree to resign or be fired without any recourse to legal action because he signed this “Last Chance Agreement”. Despite the fact that these “Last Chance Agreements” are not legal and not enforceable, employees continue to sign away their rights… Congress, ACLU, VACO, Union officials …please ANYONE…do something about this employee abuse! You can’t expect to attract honest, diligent employees to work at Northport when you treat them like this. And, management wonders why the results of the All Employee Survey are so bad?

Two years of employee surveys and nothing has changed!

Oh, late breaking news! Our 4-star center of excellence has just been downgraded to a 2-star facility. Even 2 stars is two too many!


VAntage Point

Encouraging VA employees and Veterans to speak up


As a Veteran, VA patient, VA employee and the son of two former VA employees, I have been affiliated with VA in some form or another almost my whole life. As a Veteran, I share an all-too-common story with many of my service brothers and sisters.

While VA helps thousands of Veterans each day, some of us still walk away feeling short-changed – and news about VA seems to confirm our negative experiences. If I am being honest, other VA employees and I have not always felt empowered to speak up to leadership when faced with problems or unethical activities. On the other side of the coin, leaders have not always listened or provided solutions when employees do speak up.

“The idea is to confront and correct potential issues when they are small.”

Recently, I have been encouraged to see VA staff and leadership talking about changing VA culture to address issues of speaking up and listening up. As an example of that change, I am excited to be part of VA’s 2018 National Compliance and Ethics Week, which takes place May 14-18.

This year’s theme is “Speak Up! Listen Up!” VA is encouraging all employees – as well as Veterans and their families – to speak up when they have concerns about potential fraud, waste, abuse or ethics issues. VA is also encouraging leaders and management to listen up whenever someone brings a possible problem to their attention.

Education and Training Sessions

Staff at VA facilities around the country will participate in education and training sessions, and other activities that will help them identify fraud, waste, abuse and unethical situations, as well as learn how to take action to address what they see. This week also aims to encourage VA management and leadership, from the front lines to VA Central Office, to listen to their employees when change is needed. The idea is to confront and correct potential issues when they are small – before they grow into real problems that can be harmful to Veterans.

Of course, speaking up and listening up do not end with this single week. VA has developed many tools and initiatives to let VA employees carry out these key themes in their daily work.

VA culture can and will change when VA employees are empowered to take responsibility for that change. Compliance and Ethics Week is part of the process.

*Subsequently, VA, especially Northport, has issued a “cease and desist” order to all employees for any whistleblowing activities. Word is that VA will now prosecute anyone who even thinks about blowing whistles! I think they forgot to check existing Laws that fully protect Federal whistleblowers. Reference - The Office of Special Counsel.


weekly email:

*Employee Transfers and resignations
          **3 transfers recently.
1) EMS employee went back to VA in FL after only 1 month

2) Telecom employee transferred to FL after being here 1 year

3) HR employee transferred to VT. Never heard of her so she must be fairly       



The Patty-Cake file

Patty “The Whisperer” Burke update : in February the “Whisperer” sold her house in Northport, and moved to  Virginia.