Sunday, October 16, 2016

HOW DEEP IS THIS HOLE?

The apparent direction and demise of the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Northport, NY
[an “experienced based” essay by Hutch Dubosque]

Hearing notes:
            Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016
            House Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs, with Oversight and investigations
            VAMC, Northport, NY, 9:00 AM EDT, Bldg. #5 auditorium
Committee Members present:
            Jeff Miller (Chairman), Mark Takano (Ranking Member), Lee Zeldin, Kathleen Rice, Steve            Israel,             2 Staff Investigators, 2 Legal Counsel
Witnesses (sworn in):

            Philip Moschitta (Director - VAMC Northport), Joan E. McInerny (VISN 2 Chief),                        Charlene Thomasen (Chief of Psychology - VAMC, Northport), Mayer Bellehsen,                        Northwell Health (local private sector Health Care partner)

Miller open:
            1) questioned most recent on campus suicide
            1) questioned the $2.9 million for portable A/C units
            2) questioned “ghost panels”; scam = nurses calling Patients and charging $1,200+ per Patient
            3) questioned unreported suicides at VAMC Northport
            4) questioned the general lack of maintenance across the board at this Hospital campus
Replies:
VISN 2 - Started by addressing the most recent suicide on Hospital grounds (25 years of walk-in clinic), $290 million budget for facility maintenance, quoted the VA’s standard false numbers on Patient Care stats (i.e. Wait Times)
Northwell - 150k Veterans in area, praised Moschitta and Thomasen for their vision and efforts for the dual Clinic in Bay Shore
Moschitta - how does the Hospital do ER triage; he couldn’t answer the question; he didn’t know how Patients “sign in” to ER, claimed 57 ER visits per day; said there was no evidence of Peter Kaisen (latest on campus suicide) on inside surveillance videos; refused to name names   by HIPAA Law; claimed 24 hr. Psych care; claimed satellite clinics have full Psych coverage
Rice - praised VAMC Northport for doing an excellent job throughout its system, deflected from answering anything on the actual agenda, it was not evident why Northwell Health was being represented
Northwell - claimed a lot of advertising for the dual Clinic (VAMC does no advertising at all for anything internal or external)
Israel - asked about FBI investigation, Suffolk Co. PD, got no answer
Moschitta - 31.5k customers served at VAMC Northport, 90% satisfaction rating pputs Northport in top 10% of VA’s Nationwide,
Miller - brought up “Ghost Panels”
Moschitta - claimed the practice did not exist and no revenue was gotten
VISN - named the practice “”Group Practice Program Panels”
Northwell - claimed they have been billing Vets and families only starting in 2016
Moschitta - $600k for small bldg. roof repair, using existing employees to save money, can’t find any qualified contractors on Long Island, said they all go to NYC to find work
Israel - questioned HVAC situation in OR
Moschitta - no mention that he was willing to wait on a fix until he got $8 million to refurbish the OR, deferred to VA Secretary’s office, dodged all maintenance questions, ducked all air quality questions
VISN - blamed Patients for their own delays in rescheduling their operations
Northwell - (entirely too much time taken on them)
Audience/Veterans - show of hands pro/con health care at VAMC Northport, more pro’s than con’s
Zeldin - Northport doesn’t get maintenance $’s because they don’t request it, out of 1,500 VA’s             Northport is 25th from the bottom on the priority list in DC
Moschitta - doesn’t know how the Patient Advocate Office works
Israel - blamed all witnesses for total lack of communications
Moschitta - he did know exactly how much revenue from the Golf Course ($35-40k), knew the lease was up in 2020
Zeldin - praised Ronayne for Peer Support Program, without mentioning that it is the “Joe Dwyer Peer Support Program”

I was writing as much as I could, and I know I missed some points of interest; I was busy trying to pay attention to the Q’s & A’s. The above is just a partial recounting of the proceedings. My immediate impression was that McInerney and Moschitta should minimally be held in Contempt of Congress for the lies and misleading statements they made throughout the Hearing. For more in depth information, go to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs web site, https://veterans.house.gov/

News Flash:
* 9/26/2016, Moschitta admits the surveillance video in bldg. 200 was not working. Actually, the entire system hasn’t been operational for at least five months (from a reliable source). So, he lied to the Subcommittee when he said he would get them a copy of the surveillance video. He also claimed that there was a copy of surveillance video that showed Mr. Kaisen driving directly to the parking lot where he shot himself. It does not take 12 minutes to drive from the guard shack to parking lot “I” and commit suicide, especially if you are bent on suicide in the first place. I am not sure whether this video exists, either.

I subscribe to a number of Government/VA newsletters and Press releases. Below, is a small sample of what they actually publish about themselves. What appears in their daily reports is just the tip of a very large iceberg. If Veterans don’t stand up and join the fight to right this ship, the entire system will be scrapped. That, in turn, could very easily lead to the decimation of our Armed Forces, thus rendering this Country into the “Third World”.

a list of recent Local & National VA disasters.......past 5 months...from VA/OIG reports, Military.com reports, VA web site reports, Office of Special Counsel reports, National Veteran Service Organization’s reports, Congressional Veterans Committees, local & Nation Press reports:
05/31/2016 - Top VA health official briefs lawmakers on Northport visit
05/22/2016 - Northport VA Medical Center operating rooms closed for months
05/19/2016 - Decaying Long Island V.A. Hospital Closes Operating Rooms
06/ 2016     - Booted after battle
06/30/2016 - Final Report, Commission on Care
07/06/2016 - Statement by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald on the Commission on Care Report
07/28/2016 - Washington Monthly Editor: VA Should Be The Model For Us Health Care
07/31/ 2016 - New vet crisis line in Atlanta
08/03/2016 - Suicide among Veterans and Other Americans, 2001–2014, Office of Suicide Prevention
08/12/2016 - 'Ghost panels' found at Iowa City VA hospital
08/13/2016 - Vets brace for possible health care changes
08/24/2016 - Veteran Kills Himself in Parking Lot of V.A. Hospital on Long Island
08/25/2016 - Congressmen demand ‘thorough’ probe of suicide outside VA hospital
08/30/2016 - VA Offers Anti-Corruption Whistleblower $305,000 to Go Away
09/01/2016 - Problems at Northport VA
09/01/2016 - House probe of VA, Committee investigates issues at Northport - Faulty heating and cooling among the concerns
09/17/2016 - House veterans committee sets Tuesday hearing at Northport VA
09/20/2016 - House Subcommittee On Oversight And Investigations", An Assessment of Deficiencies at the Northport VA        Medical Center"
09/20/2016 - Northport VA hospital’s troubles focus of House panel hearing

If anyone doubts what Mr. Moschitta has been up to over his years at the VAMC, Northport, please look at the following report from 2014.
07/17/2014 - RESPONSE TO AGENCY'S REPORT OSC CASE# 14-0558, a 108-page Report referencing         mismanagement, fraud, and criminality at the VA Medical Center in Northport, NY (Mr. Philip Moschitta,        Director)


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