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LI’s Only VA Medical Center Has Delayed Or Canceled Vet Surgeries Because Badly Aged Heating & Cooling System Failed; And Risk For More HVAC Problems This Summer Remains 

But Now There Are $4 Billion New Fed Funds That Senator Just Secured That Can Help Avoid Crisis; Millions Of Dollars In Repairs Can Happen If Feds See the Light and Cut Check To Northport VA 

Schumer To Feds: Don’t Make LI Vets Sweat Over Their Healthcare; Cut The Check To Make Needed HVAC Repairs 

On the heels of the just-passed bi-partisan federal spending bill he negotiated, and President Trump signed into law, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced today an increased pot of federal dollars –roughly $4 billion—that will be allocated to Veteran (VA) Medical Centers across the country for much-needed and long-delayed repairs. In announcing these new federal dollars for VA facilities, Schumer made the case for Long Island’s Northport VA to receive immediate and ‘emergency’ funds necessary to make critical repairs to the facility’s HVAC system, which has failed in the past, and forced the cancelling of surgeries. Schumer also revealed that, despite some work now underway, Northport’s HVAC systems still have major issues as we head into the hot summer months. Schumer, today launched a campaign to secure over $15M to fix these problems and upgrade the heating and cooling systems at the Northport Veterans Affairs (VA) on Long Island.

“Nothing lasts forever, and at roughly 100 years old, the Northport VA is proof positive that unless we invest in our outdated VA hospitals and shelters, veterans will be the ones to bear the burden,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “That is why I am launching a new push to ensure that the Northport VA’s heating and cooling system does not fail again and its repairs fully funded and completed quickly, ideally before the dog days of summer arrive. Today, I’m saying to the VA: don’t make Long Island veterans sweat over their health care; cut the check needed to make the repairs that will give Long Island veterans the facilities they need and deserve. Already, surgeries have had to be postponed and buildings have had to shut down because of the outworn heating and cooling systems. This is unacceptable and not how we should be treating our veterans. The Northport VA needs to repair and replace its HVAC systems before they break down, not after.”   

Schumer said time is of the essence when it comes to making these much-needed repairs on Long Island and further revealed and detailed the $15 million total cost to complete the job. Schumer said that he worked on the just-passed spending bill with the Northport VA in mind and that his effort to increase federal investment in VA medical centers is not only needed across the country, but could mean life or death for some hero veterans on Long Island.  

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, which break down far too often and put veterans and Northport VA employees at risk in extreme temperatures.


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 has multiple HVAC units that are inoperable and even infested with rodents, a health issue for the building’s occupants. 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.

Moreover, many of the HVAC systems that have not yet failed entirely need to be repaired or replaced immediately. For instance, the air conditioning unit at Building 200, the main hospital, is 12 years past its maximum usable life. And, the HVAC system in the pharmacy stores are not cooling properly which could impact the drugs being stored. Schumer said these heating and cooling systems must be upgraded before they break down, not after.

Schumer detailed the following HVAC upgrades needed at the Northport VA, and urged the VA to provide the funds needed to move forward ASAP:


Building 200 – Main Hospital ($2,500,000)

Air Conditioning Unit # 5                                                                                          

Unit needs immediate replacement.  Unit 12 years past maximum usable life.

Serves 1st floor admissions, psychiatry, neurology, hematology, computer room; Serves Basement electron microscopy, pathology, physical rehab, dental, audiology, voluntary, canteen & patient dining rooms, corridors and transfer grills


Building 200 – Main Hospital ($5,000,000)

Ductwork and Variable Air Volume Control Boxes throughout Hospital

The majority of the ductwork throughout the main hospital cannot control air flow into their respective spaces.  This causes specific areas to either be hotter or colder than federal regulation allows.  While Northport is addressing the equipment to produce the conditioned air, a project is needed to correct the ductwork and VAV boxes throughout the hospital to control that conditioned air into the spaces the HVAC units serve.


Building 200 – Main Hospital ($ 772,330)

Isolation Unit HVAC                                                                    The main hospital segregates 4 rooms on the second floor for infectious control patients.  These rooms do not have a segregated HVAC, so the hospital cannot accept infected patients until this unit is replaced.


Building 200 – Main Hospital ($265,054)

Pharmacy Stores                                                                        In the basement of B-200, the pharmacy stores rooms along the north corridor are not cooled properly.  The tests have shown that the HVAC & ductwork needs to be corrected to supply the proper air to the rooms or else the drugs that should be stored there will void compliance.


Campus Wide – Multiple Buildings ($ 4,000,000)

Replace Direct Digital Controls                                                  Each building across the entire campus has equipment that operates steam, controls valves, lights offices and corridors, flows water and controls other infrastructure services/utilities.  Northport VAMC does not have the personnel to manually operate these devices.  A centralized Direct Digital Control project will enable Northport VAMC to monitor and control these systems properly, sign when failures occur, and properly plan maintenance of these items.


Building 65 – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment ($ 167,500)

The last outdoor packaged HVAC unit needs to be replaced to serve patients on the first floor residential wing.


Building 64 – Replace Governair HVAC ($ 845,245)

The outside Governair HVAC unit has been repeatedly failing and causing emergency cooling conditions that are not necessarily fixing the problem, but just addressing the immediate situation and overly taxing the electrical systems with temporary window units.  The packaged outdoor air units need to be replaced.


Building 63 – Replace Governair HVAC ($ 845,245)

The outside Governair HVAC unit has been repeatedly failing and causing emergency cooling conditions that are not necessarily fixing the problem, but just addressing the immediate situation and overly taxing the electrical systems with temporary window units.  The packaged outdoor air units need to be replaced.


Building 10 – Replace Admin Office HVAC ($ 220,000)

The Director's wing of Bldg 10 is not cooling correctly anymore.  The unit is beyond repair and this side of the building has been using temporary window units to assist in their cooling needs.  The East side of the building, Engineering, does not have positive heat control and continually suffers instances where heat is limited if not totally absent.  The heat pipes cannot be repaired anymore and sometimes just need to be secured.


Building 7 – Replace All HVAC ($ 600,000)

Bldg 7 has multiple HVAC units that are totally inoperable and have become infested with rodents.  This is actually a life/health/safety issue for the building occupants as well as HVAC.  Not only do the units need to be changed, but the attic space and ductwork needs to be sterilized.


Building 5 – Replace HVAC units ($ 300,000)

Bldg 5 has had 3 failed HVAC units for over 4 years.  The building has suffered without conditioned air through multiple summers.