LI Congress members tell VA to fix Northport

Long Island's congressional leaders sent a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs demanding it address deteriorating conditions at the Northport VA Medical Center.

Long Island's congressional leaders sent a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs demanding it address deteriorating conditions at the Northport VA Medical Center. (5/25/16)

NORTHPORT - Long Island's congressional leaders sent a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs demanding it address deteriorating conditions at the Northport VA Medical Center.

The move comes less than a week after News 12 reported that the Northport VA was forced to close its operating rooms because black particles were falling from the 45-year-old duct work and contaminating equipment.

Reps. Steve Israel, Peter King, Kathleen Rice and Lee Zeldin jointly sent the letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald.

"With no indication of when the additional operating rooms will reopen, immediate action must be taken to fix these issues and provide our veterans with high-quality care," the representatives wrote.

"We want to know which steps were necessary to reopen the operating rooms, and we want to know how long it’s going to take," Israel told News 12 in a phone interview.

More than 100 veterans scheduled for surgery have been affected by the closures, Israel said. Some were able to reschedule their procedures at other medical centers, others have had to push back their surgeries.

"I want to know every single need," said Zeldin, who himself served in the Army. "Whether it is a present day need or a need that the Northport VA sees coming months or years down the road."

John Maxwell, a veteran who volunteers at the Northport VA to help other vets, says the government should be ashamed of the problems in Northport. 

"It's unfortunate in this country of ours — this is the way to support our veterans," he says.

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