Rep. Zeldin Participates in House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Field Hearing Regarding Northport VA on Long Island
Northport, NY – On September 20, 2016, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, participated in a House Veterans’ Affairs Committee field hearing that was held at the Northport VA entitled, “An Assessment of Deficiencies at the Northport VA Medical Center.”
Congressman Lee Zeldin said, “Since the media first reported on the closed operating rooms at the Northport VA, my office has been contacted by several Long Islanders, including veterans, whistleblowers and other stakeholders, regarding very specific and serious allegations that have been made with regard to the Northport VA. Throughout the years, I have always heard high praise from veterans across Long Island who have had nothing but a very positive experience at the Northport VA. However, I cannot allow the recent spike in specific and very serious allegations that have been made to my office to be ignored. All allegations regarding the care of our veterans must be taken very seriously, which is why my office shared this information with the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in order to conduct a full and fair review of the information. The field hearing held today on Long Island is just one part of the investigation. There are still many questions that remain unanswered, including specific inquiries made by the House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald, which have gone unanswered by the VA since July 2016. That is not acceptable.”
“Additionally, there is also a larger issue here in need of attention as it relates to regional and national management of Veterans Affairs services,” Congressman Zeldin continued. “The national VA network is systematically flawed with how their budgets are structured and implemented. From a billion dollar cost overrun for the Denver VA hospital construction project to hundreds of thousands of dollars erroneously spent on an art piece, there are too many unnecessary examples of funds being mishandled and wasted. The impacts of this fiscal mismanagement is felt by veterans all across the country each year when the VA prioritizes each project request; many routine maintenance projects are unfortunately brushed aside and moved too far down the priority list. The natural and unavoidable consequence of this mismanagement is that the entire system is at risk of falling into a state of disrepair, including Northport. This isn't about signing off on the inefficiency by simply throwing more money at the problem. It's about getting to the root cause of why there are so many inefficiencies and ensuring it gets fixed.”
“Today’s hearing was an important step, but there is still much more that must be investigated. Congress’ investigation will continue until all the facts are at hand and we have all of the answers that we need to ensure our veterans have only the highest quality of care,” Congressman Zeldin concluded.