Director outlines plan to improve aging Northport VA

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NORTHPORT -

The director of the problem-plagued Northport VA Medical Center on Monday outlined a multiyear, multimillion-dollar plan to improve the aging facility.

The veterans hospital has come under fire for broken medical equipment, under-staffing, dirty facilities and other hazards. Some veterans say the property's dilapidated buildings sometimes reflect the care that the facility is able to offer.

Director Scott Guermonprez says he's spearheading a plan to improve the center.

"The facilities here are more than 91 years old in some cases, and 30 years older than the average VA. And so we acknowledge the fact that we have issues that need to be addressed," Guermonprez says. "And we are addressing them as rapidly as possible."

The plan comes on the heels of an internal employee survey, which was leaked to Newsday. It showed that many staff members are upset that poor conditions at the medical center are affecting patient care.

Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi got an up-close look at some of the problems like mold and leaky ceilings on Monday. He says the hospital needs to improve, and says he'll work in Washington to secure more funds to get it back on track.

"We need to get that reputation back and I think under this leadership and pushing from the outside, working together, we are going to make this place be great again," says Suozzi.

The VA hopes to knock down two of the property's oldest and most dilapidated buildings by the fall.

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