Congress opens probe into Northport VA hospital

A House committee is investigating the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

A House committee is investigating the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

A House committee is investigating the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center. (8/31/16)

DEER PARK - A House committee is investigating the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

For months earlier this year, veterans seeking surgery at the hospital were forced to wait or go elsewhere after problems with its HVAC system shut down all five of its operating rooms. The issue has caused Congress to open an investigation into the facility.

Army veteran James Minor is a former Northport VA patient. He says he was in the operating room under anesthesia when doctors learned that the laser to be used for his cancer surgery was broken. Minor wound up winning a lawsuit against the VA and was treated elsewhere.

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) says he has heard both good and bad stories from veterans about the care they received at the Northport VA. He says lawmakers are taking the allegations seriously and will hold a hearing next month as part of their investigation.

Zeldin says there are a lot of unanswered questions about the allegations against the hospital, and that the chairman of the VA has not been responding to requests for answers from Congress.

Minor says he hopes the investigation is not just smoke and mirrors in this election year, and that lawmakers uphold their promises to help the nation’s veterans.

The hearing will be held Sept. 20.

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