The vast majority of buildings still in use at the VA Medical Center in Northport, NY were built in 1928-1931. There were two other major medical/psychiatric facilities here on Long Island that were built around the same time with the same architecture that are now partially, or completely, torn down. These facilities, Pilgrim State Hospital (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilgrim_Psychiatric_Center) and the even older Kings Park Mental Institution (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kings_Park_Psychiatric_Center), were torn down due to their age, structural integrity, and environmental hazards such as asbestos, lead, and black mold. The VA Medical Center in Northport, NY, has exactly the same age, structural integrity, and environmental hazards in 95% of its buildings. So, what’s the problem, here? Why can’t the Federal Government find enough of our tax dollars to remedy the situation? This Medical Center needs to be completely razed and a new, modern Facility built in its place.
The VA Medical Center is on Federal property, nestled in the bucolic woods of Northport, NY, and is approximately 600 acres in size. There is more than enough available acreage to first construct a new medical facility, and then tear down the old one.
With a new, multi-story building of about 8-10 stories and two to four connected outbuildings, the Veteran community on Long Island will be fully and properly served. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has more than enough money to get this done. If you doubt they have the funding, simply check around the Nation and look at the facilities they have constructed elsewhere in the past twenty years. One of the problems in Northport seems to the Center’s Executive Director. He has never entertained the idea of such a capital improvement, because he “likes” the old architecture. Meanwhile, “Rome is burning” while he sits in his executive suite fiddling (as a famous Roman did centuries ago).
There are approximately 130,000 to 150,000 Veterans in Nassau and Suffolk Counties here in New York (http://www.osc.state.ny.us/reports/other/veterans_11_2015.pdf.) Some accounts claim lesser numbers, but not by much. At last check, it is my understanding that only a maximum of 34,000 - 28,000 Veterans (depending on who you ask) are registered at this Facility. Where are the rest of the 100,000+ Veterans on Long Island getting their health care, and why aren’t they subscribing to the VA Medical Center? One visit through these “hallowed halls” will answer that question. It takes a Veteran with a high degree of intestinal fortitude to drive by the Guard Shack and into this medical campus seeking medical care. The very first thing they see are two five-story buildings ringed with chain-link fencing, roofs that look like Swiss cheese, and have the appearance of buildings about to fall down on their own. These two particular buildings have been left to decay for almost ten years, while the string of reasons and excuses of why they aren’t being torn down flow from the Director’s office. Again, what’s the problem here? Is there some hidden agenda that is benefiting those at the top? Appearance and perception is everything! Suffice it to say the Veteran in/out patients don’t want to “drink the Kool-Aide” anymore; they want action so that the medical and mental health care they were promised gets delivered properly.
The buildings that must come down:
#1 & #2 the two originals with fencing around them, already condemned
#6 Environmental Services (kind of ironic, eh?), Chaplains, Neurology, Nutrition, Psychiatry, Psychology, Recreational Therapy
#7 Department offices: Orthopedics, Podiatry, Infectious Control, Employee Education
#9 Community Relations, Mail Room, Veterans Service Org.’s (mainly DAV), Volunteer Services
#10 Management offices: Business, EEO, Engineering, Executive
#11 Beacon House Domiciliary
#12 Library, IT
#17,18,37, Research, affiliated with Stony Brook
61, 62 State University Medical School
#63 Psychology, Vocational Rehab.
#64 Psychology Clinic, Substance Abuse
#65 PTSD, Telehealth, Dual Diagnosis (Major new leak and decomposition involving the second story concrete slab floor. It has been open and visible for four weeks with no remediation in sight.) (The plaster outer walls have been exploding with black mold “cancers” for decades.)
#92 Nursing Home (original)
#36 Maintenance & Engineering (out buildings)
#88 Pool & Gymnasium, closed for repairs, opened, closed for repairs, opened, still cracked and leaking
* There are lesser used and smaller buildings of the same era that need to come
down also (approx. 6 buildings)
**There are many other offices and clinics in these buildings; I am listing the
major ones. Reference article below.
And, of course, the infamous Building #200 - the main Hospital. This building is only forty-four years old and, piece by piece, the mechanical infrastructure is failing; the Operating Suites’ climate control air ducting, the “cooling tower” on the roof, and the air conditioning for the basement Radiology and Nuclear Medicine departments. What’s next, more $60,000.00 per month portable air conditioning units? Perhaps more solar panel operated blinking red LED lights for the STOP signs? Or, how about another $6-8 million for solar panels over the parking areas (of which there is an enormous lack). Oh, by the way, they can't seem to find enough money to fix the potholes that make the roads look like a war zone.
STAY TUNED, FOLKS! It's going to get very interesting at this VA Medical Center.