Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Next Salvo - Fire For Effect

To:                      VA Inspector General, Dept. of Labor, 
                           NY State Dept. of Health,
                           U.S. Joint Commission, 
                           U.S. Office of Special Counsel, 
                           Martin Evans - Newsday
                           Valerie Bauman - NY Times, 
                           Kristina Rebelo - NY Times
From:               Hutch Dubosque, US Military Veteran
                        10 Woolsey St., Huntington, NY   11743-2641
                        1-631-223-6107(cell) / 1-631-470-0958(home)

Subject:           Allegations of mismanagement and misconduct at the 
                        Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center
                        79 Middleville Rd., Northport, NY  11768

To Whom It May Concern,

I am a Vietnam Veteran who has been an outpatient at the VA Medical Center in Northport, NY, since 1979. My presence at the Medical Center was limited due to my work schedule until 2009, when I had to retire from work for medical reasons. Since 2009, I have been present at this Facility at least three days a week. There are some issues that have become known to me recently at this Medical Center. I feel these issues need investigating, as I perceive them to be at least unethical, and at most criminal.

In January of this year, 2016, the five Operating Suites were shuttered due to contaminants emanating from the ceiling air ducts. Unless you had an operation scheduled, you never would have known of this occurrence. I was not aware of this situation until early June 2016, and it was then that I learned Veterans were being rescheduled for arbitrary dates in the future, or were being told to go to other VA Medical Facilities in the New York Metro area. Apparently, our local, State, and Federal Legislators were not informed of the situation, either, until June. The Hospital Administration was comfortable waiting for $8 million in Federal funding to renovate the five Operating Suites; a process that would reopen these Suites in 2018, at the earliest, if they could acquire such funding. A combination of two U.S Congressmen and the local Press forced the hand of the Hospital Administration, and a temporary fix was implemented. There is only one problem still not being admitted to, or addressed. The air ducts are 44 years old and, being here on Long Island, have collected sufficient moisture over the years to give rise to black mold (also pervasive in the majority of buildings that were constructed in the late 1920’s). I now have it on reliable authority that the major contaminant coming out of those air ducts was, indeed, black mold. The temporary fix that has been installed will curtail the flow of the black mold, but will never eliminate it. We now have two of the Operating Suites back in operation with a high probability that contaminants will still emanate from the ceiling air ducts. This has been deemed acceptable for the treatment of my fellow Veterans.

The situation with the Hospital’s Operating Suites may be just the tip of a very large “iceberg”. There are a number of other troubling situations that I have been informed of by Hospital employees who I consider very reliable and trustworthy (Medical Staff members). In an effort to keep this brief, I will list summary thumbnails of each situation I am aware of.
  1. The basement of the Hospital houses the Radiology Department and other Departments. In May, it was discovered that the air conditioning unit serving just the basement fell into disrepair and is no longer serviceable. The Hospital Administration deemed it prudent to lease portable A/C units for the summer months at a price of $120.000.00 per month. It would cost in the neighborhood of $75,000.00 to repair the existing unit. I will leave the math up to you. This Administration is apparently waiting on Federal Funding to replace the entire system.
  2. It has been brought to my attention that a number of senior Medical Staff and Hospital Administrators have been either coming to work intoxicated, or becoming so while on the job.
  3. It has been brought to my attention that there are once-senior Doctors who are drawing a full-time salary from this Hospital, and do not actually work here. They have been seen by Hospital Staff and fellow Veterans enjoying private practice in the local private medical sector, thus receiving two substantial means of income.
  4. I realize that, nationally, the Veterans Health and Benefit Administrations have been trying to resolve and fix some large deficiencies in the system. In addressing my local situation, The VA Medical Center Administration in Northport has claimed that they have reduced the appointment “wait-times” to an average of 3.55 days. I can personally attest to wait-times in terms of months, not days. I can only conclude that this Hospital is using some sort of “Voodoo” accounting in arriving at their figures. I have the backing of every fellow Veteran I know on this matter. It seems that our Politicians, the local Press, and the VA’s Office of Inspector General are still “drinking the Kool-Aide” on this matter.
In summation, if I am aware of these few practices and situations, how much more is going on underneath the surface. Usually where there is smoke, there is fire. I am asking for a full independent audit of all business practices at the VA Medical Center in Northport, NY. My fellow local Veterans deserve no less; our Nation’s Veterans deserve no less. I would appreciate your consideration in this, and am willing to discuss any of these situations with you anytime, anywhere.
Thanking you in advance,
            Hutch Dubosque

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


- Recent revelations just the tip of the iceberg
A number of issues have surfaced, lately, concerning our local Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Northport, NY. The most recent of which has been the controversy and apparent cover-up of the closing down of all the Operating Suites at the Medical Center. I was hearing rumors, then being told by reliable sources inside the Hospital, about the true nature of the closings and the true nature of the reason for the closings. The “management” would have us all believe that miniscule particles of rust were occasionally emerging from the climate control air ducting in the ceilings. A plausibly deniable reason was given for this phenomenon and all further communication went oddly silent. Fortunately for our Veteran Community, this didn’t last too long before the local Press and our local Congressmen got a hold of it. Once that hit the fan, the “problem” was  remedied in the matter of days; after languishing in limbo for four months. What most of the Veterans thought was actually coming out of those ceiling vents, black mold, has been corroborated by the same reliable sources.
It hurts me to say that since that whole fiasco, I have been made aware of some more equally (if not more) damaging information regarding the “management” of this Medical Center. I have been pulled aside and given a detailed insight to other deeds of mismanagement, which, in my opinion,  may border on illegal and criminal. I have corroborated these tidbits of information with other sources, and to a person, what were just rumors have been confirmed as standard operating procedure here at the Northport VAMC. I have also been directed, as a Veteran stakeholder, to bring these allegations and/or practices to the attention of the United States Office of Special Counsel. From what I have been told, the Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General is singing the Company tune, drinking the Kool-Aide, and is completely incompetent in dealing with type and amount of corruption inside this Bureaucracy. The Office of Special Counsel is primarily a layer of protection for governmental whistleblowers. If this is the case, consider me a governmental whistleblower.

So much for the appetizer; now, for the main course and some red meat;
v  Medical Department Heads and Senior Staff have been either showing up for work visibly intoxicated, or becoming so during the workday. I’m sure CARF, the nonprofit accreditor of health and human services (, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) (, and the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) (  would be very interested in looking into this. And, how about the local and National Press; just to name a few......
v  The aforementioned may be unethical at many levels, but this next situation has to border on criminal. I have been told that there are at least a handful of medical Doctors who are being paid a full-time salary at the VAMC, Northport, and are not required to show up for work. Indeed, they are enjoying the fruits of private practice, and earning a full paycheck from that source. Forget about Hospital Accreditation Agencies, I have a sneaking suspicion that the United States Judicial System might be very interested in taking long, hard look at these allegations.
As it is said in the business, “Watch this space!”
As the title mentions, this is just the tip of what may be a very large iceberg. It seems, the deeper you dig into the inner workings of our Veterans health care system, the more devastating unethical and criminal practices you find. There are the obvious short-term solutions to these problems, but what is needed is a complete overhaul and long-term solution to what is ailing our Veterans’ National health care system under the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. I have looked at this situation for the past five years. I have tried to come up with the root cause of the problems, and the long-term solution that will right this ship. After all, our Nation’s Veterans are depending on a health care system that works as advertised and promised; they deserve no less for the service they have provided us all.
What I think I have discovered is that the very structure of the Department of Veterans Affairs,  especially the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), is what leads to a certain bureaucratic culture that necessarily breeds incompetence, unethical behaviors, arrogance and indifference toward its clientele. I don’t want to make this a blanket condemnation of each and every VA employee, but I have to say, based on observation, these personnel characteristics seem to run deep throughout the entire system.
A primary premise in coming up with a cure is the undeniable fact that the vast majority of this Nation’s Veterans do not feel comfortable, or understood, when dealing with private sector medical and mental health care. So, instead of trashing the entire system, let’s try to reorganize this Department in such a way that will enable it to properly and efficiently serve our Veterans. We do not need to reinvent the wheel; all the necessary parts already exist. A proper reshuffling of the deck is something that can realistically be done, and done in a relatively short period of time. Once I have gotten a foothold in Congress with my Mandatory Military Separation Transition Program (MMSTP), I am going to focus full-time on putting together a blueprint for reorganizing the Department of Veterans Affairs. If you can change the structure, you can change the culture. Hey, somebody has to do it!

 My  UN-healthevet