Friday, March 31, 2017


In Response
Comment on: VAMC Northport, NY Director retires - Newsday, 3/30/2017

Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center director Philip C. Moschitta in his office at the medical center Thursday, March 29, 2017. Moschitta will retire on Saturday. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Phil Moschitta as he realizes three dozen donuts just arrived for the morning meeting.

Northport VA Medical Center director Philip Moschitta to retire

Updated March 31, 2017 11:03 AM
By Martin C. Evans 
His last day is Saturday.
“I’m going to miss it,” said Moschitta, 65, whose VA career began in 1973 as a physical therapist for amputees in Manhattan, and ends with him directing a medical system with about 2,000 employees and a $320 million budget. “I really, really love working with the vets.”
Moschitta guided an extension of VA health care into new or expanded facilities in Riverhead, Patchogue, and Valley Stream. A partnership with Northwell Health, which serves veterans and their families at a single Bay Shore facility, has been lauded by the Rand Corp. as a national model.
A day care center at Northport that opened during Moschitta’s tenure allows patients to drop off children while receiving medical care.
And in a VA survey that measures death rates, medical complications, patient satisfaction and other parameters, Northport showed improvement, climbing from a 2-star ranking in 2014 to 4 stars last year, with 5 being the highest.
“He is leaving a medical center that is squared away,” said Tom Ronayne, Suffolk County’s director of veterans services. “He’s been a good resource.”
But Moschitta’s record was tarnished last year when he quietly suspended surgeries at Northport for nearly four months because of airborne contaminants from aging ventilation equipment in all five of the facility’s operating rooms.
Local members of Congress criticized him for moving too slowly to arrange for repairs and failing to inform them of the problem.
Other allegations leveled by anonymous whistleblowers led to a field hearing by the House Committee on Veterans Affairs at Northport in September. The allegations, which included an assertion that Northport turned away a patient who later committed suicide, and another that the facility was collecting federal reimbursements for patients it never saw, were never substantiated.
Vincent F. Immiti, the director of the Department of Veterans Affairs New Jersey Health Care System, has been named interim director effective Monday, the VA said Friday.
Immiti will arrive on Long Island having managed a combined health system that is about twice as large as Long Island’s veterans care network. He has supervised two medical centers — in East Orange and Lyons — as well as nine community clinics in New Jersey since just Jan. 1. Those facilities total 3,100 employees and serve nearly 60,000 patients annually, according to a VA website.
He previously served as the associate director at the 300-bed James J. Peters VA Medical Center, in the Bronx, and was an administrator at the Harbor Health Care System, in Manhattan. He also has taught medical administration as an adjunct professor at St. John’s University.
Immiti will take over as the VA enters an uncertain period nationally, with a new administration in Washington, a hiring freeze on federal workers and Republican challenges to the Affordable Care Act, said Terri Tanielian, a veterans health policy analyst for Rand. Tanielian said changes to Obamacare could push more veterans into the VA system, stretching resources.
Moschitta cited other challenges at Northport, including an aging complex marred by leaking roofs, crumbling walkways and failing equipment.
There is also pressure nationwide to increase patient access following a 2014 scandal, in which VA administrators were forced to admit that patients in Phoenix had died while waiting to be scheduled for appointments.
“They really expect that when a veteran wants to be seen, he’s seen,” said Moschitta, whose facility last year served 31,897 veterans with 409,224 appointments — a workload that increased in each year of his tenure.
Meeting that demand is yet another challenge, he said.
“But I’m proud of our community-based clinics that allow us to have the whole Island covered. That, and our patient-centered focus.”
"...earned kudos for expanding health care services on Long Island..."Really?No!"I really, really love working with vets."Only loved working with those who kissed his ring./The Rand Corp. was paid to praise Northwell Health, not the VAMC Northport./"...VA survey..." If you shrink services across the board and deny access to what is left, your numbers are going to look great;/Tom Ronayne:"He's leaving a medical center that is squared away."This "medical center" is a toxic waste dump/Director:" aging complex marred by leaking roofs,crumbling walkways., and failing equipment." No contradictions, here!This "medical center" will be summarily condemned and shuttered, soon.No mention of mold,lead,asbestos and the myriad on ongoing investigation?/"...31,897 veterans..". ? "...patient-centered focus." I think not! All inflated and false claims by Director have been swalloed whole by Newsday. What a shame.
            Good riddance. Forced retirement?
                             Mar 30, 2017 8:22pm
            Susan Marie Who is really Dr. Stickevers, shouldn't talk since   you an your husband were forced out of the VA
                             6 hrs
            Yeh,the clinics are nice, but in order to serve veterans you need     good MD's which they donot have.
                             16 hrs
            Clinics are not nice. All are understaffed. Most employees =      good; some = not so good. Change the structure and you          change the culture!
                             10 hrs
Tien Foen · 
            Retired from the ongoing battle of helping the heroes from past       wars to the conflict of clinical chaotic control. More MDs are          needed since the ones there burn out quickly and are not rotated             out
                             14 hrs
I couldn’t fit my entire “comment” on the Newsday website, under the article. I ran through their allotted word/character count. I was able, however, to fit it onto my “Tom Clayton” Facebook page, as follows:
1. “...earned kudos for expanding health care services on Long Island...” Really? While he actually shrank the entire VAMC system.
2. “I really, really love working with vets.” WTF - it’s “Veterans” with a capital “V”. And, no, he did not love working with more than a handful who kissed his ring.
3. The Rand Corp. was paid to praise Northwell Health, not the VAMC Northport.
4. “...VA survey...” was and is a total abortion of fudging the numbers. If you shrink services across the board and deny access to what is left, you’re “empirical” numbers come out much small, so you publish them to look good.
5. Tom Ronayne: “He’s leaving a medical center that is squared away.” This “medical center” is a toxic waste dump and is actually killing Veterans, not healing them.
6. Director Fatso: : “ aging complex marred by leaking roofs, crumbling walkways, and failing equipment.” No contradiction, here! The “complex” has been left to crumble from the start of Director Fatso’s tenure. His refusal to spend available funds has all but guaranteed that this “medical center” will be summarily condemned and shuttered, soon. No mention of the mold, lead, asbestos, and the myriad of ongoing investigations?
7. “...31,897 veterans...” Really? “...increased each year of his tenure.” Really? “...patient-centered focus.” I think not! All inflated and false claims by Director Fatso have been swallowed whole by Newsday. What a shame.
One of the first things I noticed in this article was that Newsday chose not to capitalize the “Veteran”; at least they were consistent. For a local, so-called reputable newspaper to disrespect the very people who gave them the freedom to publish their paper is a total insult to the entire Veteran community; both here on Long Island and across the Nation. They should be ashamed of themselves and offer an apology.
As I read this article, the other things that jumped off the page at me were the lies and manipulated numbers that were quoted from the Medical Center and the Suffolk County Veterans Service Agency. These VA “facts & figures” have all been proven to be fabricated to make the Department look good, and justify their small, conniving, arrogant existence.
This article cannot have its cake and eat it, too. Either the “complex” has been left in great shape, or it’s a toxic waste dump that needs to be demolished. Which one is it, Newsday & VA?
Whatever the answer, the Patients and Staff at this “Medical Center” all know that the end is near. Why doesn’t the VA build us a new Hospital? They have the land here in Northport (250 acres) for a 14-story main Hospital with four 2-3- story outbuildings complete with connected parking garages. The VA has the money; about $690 million would do it (their annual budget is $185 billion). It would take 1 ½ years to build and get up to speed. Then, the 90-year old buildings of the present “Center” can be demolished; along with the 40-year old main Hospital building. Don’t tell me it can’t be done on Long Island! The VA seems to have found the time and money for similar projects across the Country (six of them in the New York Metro area). What about the 180,000 Veterans out here on Long Island? We are not the “back-water” area you insist on calling us.

We will fight back, loudly, and soon!