AFTER SCHUMER PUSH, MILLIONS IN NEW FED FUNDS ARE READY & WAITING IN THE WINGS TO BETTER STAFF NORTHPORT VA WITH DOCS, NURSES – AND TO PERFORM CRITICAL BUILDING REPAIRS; BUT PRESIDENT MUST SIGN JUST-PASSED BILL & THEN FEDS MUST CUT CHECK TO LI VA; SENATOR DEMANDS IMMEDIATE ACTION TO SPEED UP PROCESS & PUT NORTHPORT AT FRONT OF LINE SO IT CAN TURN CORNER
Last Week, Schumer Revealed Northport VA Had 175 Healthcare Job Vacancies & Pushed A Plan To Pass Fed Law Giving VA A Surge In Funds; Demands Funds be Used to Address Hiring Shortages & The Urgent Need For Northport Repairs, Like Creaky and Dangerous HVAC System
Thanks To Push, Schumer’s Funding Plan On Track to Become Law if President Signs & Will Give VA Additional $750M In Funds For Medical Care & Billions For Repairs; Senator Now Wants LI’s Northport At Front Of The Line To Receive Hiring Funds & Repair Dollars
Schumer: LI Veterans Have Stood On The Frontlines For America
When It Comes To Northport VA’s Urgently-Needed Repairs and Staffing, They Should Be At The Front Of It
Standing with Long Island vets – as part of a continued campaign to improve Long Island’s Northport VA – U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced today that his most recent effort to deliver a surge of federal VA dollars to the facility is now law, but requires federal action to be fully achieved. Schumer announced that his recent plan to fill vacant healthcare jobs at Northport and fund improvements to the facility, like the medical center’s HVAC system, is almost complete now with the passage of a VA appropriation bill. The bill, which passed last week, funds the VA with roughly $86.5 billion dollars and includes a number of significant increases to vital programs that Northport will need to turn the corner.
“Getting the bi-partisan VA Bill through Congress with these new dollars included is a win, but now we must make sure that Northport can use it to fill its roughly 175 vacant healthcare posts with capable doctors, nurses and mental health professionals that improve veteran care across the board,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “That is why President Trump must sign the VA Bill into law and why the feds must then put the Northport VA at the front of the line to receive both these hiring dollars and the dollars made available to begin needed repairs, like with the HVAC systems and other upkeep projects. The bottom line is that we reached this bipartisan agreement in order to solve two problems that plague places like Northport: addressing VA healthcare vacancies and urgently-needed facility repairs. And now we need immediate action to direct these federal dollars to VA centers like Northport, which have needs that must be met to provide top-notch care to Long Island’s many veterans.
The $86.5 billion dollar VA spending plan Schumer negotiated includes an increase of $750M for VA medical care. This figure represents the additional surge pushed by Schumer amidst a jaw-dropping report that detailed ominous VA healthcare shortages. The multi-billion dollar VA spending Bill also includes billions of infrastructure spending, from which Northport will be eligible to apply to nearly $800M for infrastructure funding.
Schumer, today, is urging President Trump to sign the Bill into law ASAP and then for the VA to put LI’s Northport at the top of the list to receive dollars. Schumer, who has been working tirelessly to address Northport’s issues, said this recent legislative success is Northport’s best chance to address both hiring vacancies and repair needs that translate directly into veteran care. Once the bill is signed into law, Schumer said he will begin a full-force push to get the VA to send this new funding to LI.
“Long Island’s countless veterans have stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the line, and when it comes to Northport VA Center they should be at the front of it,” Schumer said, in reference to where Northport should be in the federal queue to obtain these dollars.
Two weeks ago, The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs released data on internal vacancies and reported a total of 45,239 at the Department. Of the overall number of vacancies, 40,456 are within the Veterans Health Administration, which staffs doctors, nurses and other direct-to-vet caregivers. New York has more than 1,800 of these vacancies, 175 of which are at Northport. Schumer wants the VA to use the additional federal dollars to fill these posts at Northport.
And when it comes to Northport building repairs, Schumer said that, already, the outdated HVAC systems have affected Northport’s ability to provide care. Earlier this year, five of Northport’s operating rooms were shut down for five days as a result of a failed air-conditioner motor. As a result, 18 surgeries were rescheduled. Also, for more than four years, Northport’s Building 5 has had three failed HVAC units. The building has suffered without air conditioning through multiple summers. And, Building 7 had multiple HVAC units that are inoperable. Schumer also pointed to an instance that occurred in January when the Beacon Northport Veterans Residence’s HVAC system broke down, forcing the entire building to close. The $1 million needed to repair the system at the Beacon Northport Veterans Residence has been secured and will be replaced by the fall. Schumer said repairs like this are still needed at Northport and that this VA spending Bill should help address these building needs.
Long Island is home to approximately 130,000 veterans, many of whom need access to the Northport VA’s services. The 91-year old facility is in dire need of many repairs and upgrades. More specifically, Schumer pointed to the Northport VA’s heating, ventilation and air condition (HVAC) systems break down far too often and put veterans and Northport VA employees at risk in extreme temperatures.
Schumer stood with veterans today in Elmont as he made the case for the President to sign the VA Bill into law and for the agency to quickly help process funds so Northport can work on turning the corner, hiring competent staff and making necessary repairs that translate into quality care.
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