Northport VA Officials: Vet Did Not Seek Treatment Prior to Suicide

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Northport Veterans Administration Medical Center officials appearing before a Congressional oversight committee Tuesday rejected claims that a 78-year-old U.S. Navy veteran was denied service before he committed suicide last month at the facility.The determination was based upon a review of surveillance footage, emergency room records, and phone logs, officials told the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Surveillance footage recorded the vet, Peter Kaisen, on the hospital’s grounds for 12 minutes on Sunday, Aug. 21, from the moment his vehicle entered the campus, Northport VAMC officials said. At no point did surveillance footage place the Islip man at the hospital’s Emergency Department, they claimed.“Allegations that he was turned away from our Emergency Department are false,” said Dr. Joan E. McInerney, NY/NJ network director for the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.There was also no indication that Kaisen attempted to sign in at the facility’s welcome desk, either, officials said. The only gap in surveillance was during the moments Kaisen was in an adjacent parking lot near a wooded area, where he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.Phillip C. Moschitta, Northport VAMC’s director, told seven committee members in attendance that there was “definitive” evidence to support the VA’s accounting of events. He said he’s awaiting a final report from the FBI, the lead agency that investigated Kaisen’s death.The hospital’s account is in stark contrast to allegations made by two whistleblowers last month. The anonymous hospital workers told The New York Times that Kaisen was denied service that Sunday. The same report claimed Kaisen was frustrated that he was unable to see a mental health physician.About 100 observers packed the Northport VAMC’s auditorium for the committee’s much-anticipated field hearing. Kaisen’s widow, Joan Kaisen, was also in attendance. Like a handful of people who insisted they be permitted to address the panel, Joan was rebuffed when committee members addressed her husband’s death.While the hearing focused largely on Kaisen’s much-publicized suicide, Northport VAMC officials also discussed the closure of five operating rooms this spring due to a faulty HVAC system, alleged financial malfeasance associated with billing procedures, as well as the deaths of two other people linked to the hospital.“Through the years, up until very recently, I continued to hear constituents in my district who have nothing but the best to say about the quality of care that they have received here at Northport VA,” said Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Selden), who along with Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City), is one of two Long Islanders on the committee. “It is over the course of the last few months that we started to receive an increase in feedback from individuals that resulted in some pretty serious allegations, which is why we’re here to get answers.”RELATED: Long Island Vet’s Life of Devotion, Love & Sacrifice Ends With Tragic QuestionsBut Kaisen’s suicide took precedent.Committee chairman Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) peppered VA officials with questions about emergency room sign-in procedures. At one point he produced a paper log that patients are required to fill out at the emergency wing’s welcome desk. Both Moschitta and McInerney said they were unaware of the specific sign-in procedures inside the Emergency Department.“You still use paper like this here?” Miller inquired.“Yes, there are some paper documents,” Moschitta responded.“What happens if this gets thrown away?” Miller added, crumpling the paper in his hands to mimic its being discarded.“You would still have the patient in front of you,” McInerney said.“Unless they went to the parking lot,” Miller interjected, referring to Kaisen’s death.Besides surveillance footage, there was also forensic evidence collected by investigators indicating how long Kaisen was in a specific area, Moschitta said.“There are no breaks in the video,” he said, adding that video showed Kaisen passing the hospital’s checkpoint all the way until he parked his vehicle. The parking lot, however, is not equipped with surveillance cameras, he testified.“So, it was physically impossible to go from the incident to the ED (Emergency Department),” he said of the 12 minutes Kaisen purportedly spent on the campus.Moschitta, who declined to go into the specifics of Kaisen’s case, took offense to claims that his employees would intentionally spur a veteran.“Our staff would never do something like that—that’s not our history,” he said. “It’s just very insulting to think that.” He believed the evidence will “set the record straight” that Kaisen was not turned away.“Northport has a long history of providing excellent clinical and mental health at our main facility and our five community clinics,” McInerney added.When questions turned to the operating room’s HVAC system’s problems that began in February, Moschitta apologized for failing to inform Long Island’s Congressional delegation, who read about the rust particles spewing from the vents in a Times article in May.The hospital closed all five operating rooms in March for safety reasons and performed a temporary fix. Of the 154 procedures that were postponed due to the closures, 22 patients have yet to undergo operations, choosing instead to wait for the operating rooms to reopen, officials testified. All five operating rooms reopened in June.“At no time, even when we had a discharge, was air quality below standard,” insisted Moschitta, who hired an outside company to analyze the air particles.Moschitta told the House committee that a contract to permanently solve the HVAC issue will be finalized in the near future.In addition, Moschitta vehemently denied claims that the Northport VAMC was profiting from an outreach program designed to bring former patients back into the fold.“These encounters are not billable,” Moschitta testified, “so there’s no money generated…Clearly there was no fraud here.” The director said he welcomed an outside audit.Such “falsehoods” do a disservice to veterans who “feel they’re coming to a place they can’t feel safe in,” Moschitta said. “That is why I’m very happy you’re here…We’ve got to clear the air. I don’t want any employee at this medical center, or any volunteer, or any patient to think anything less than we’re the best that there is for them.“We always try to improve,” he added, “that’s our goal.”Northport VAMC officials also addressed claims about the deaths of two other people associated with the facility. One was a veteran who worked on-site and whose death reportedly went unnoticed for three days. The Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s office ruled out suicide and foul play. In the other incident, a patient who had been discharged died off campus, Moschitta said.Afterward, Joan Kaisen said she was “very happy” with the proceedings, specifically with the amount of time devoted to her husband’s death.“I think they’ve got a wide spectrum that they have to handle, but I feel good because he was one of the pinnacle points of this investigation,” she told reporters. “So that gives good solace to me and my family.”Yet Kaisen’s family and friends remain skeptical that the vet would have made the trek from his Islip home to Northport VAMC only to end his life.Tom Farley, his friend of 40 years, noted that Kaisen hadn’t been treated for mental illness and might have been unaware of the services the hospital offered.“I’m very disappointed about the way they’re trying to say he was never here,” Farley said. “It was 12 minutes…[Moschitta] won’t actually answer how long that 12 minutes he was actually on film…In 12 minutes you can come in, try to get into the emergency room and leave. Twelve minutes is a long time.”last_img read more

Joseph Mariathasan: Share holders and currency exposures

first_imgJoseph Mariathasan looks into how companies should trade currency in what looks set to be a volatile yearThe start of a new cycle of rate rises in the US, together with a weakening renminbi, suggests 2016 should see plenty of volatility in the currency markets. How should companies trading internationally react to this?One of the issues I was once asked to examine when I was running a treasury function before the introduction of the euro was the currency hedging strategy for the management of the balance sheet of the insurance company I worked for.There seemed to be a lot of confusion as to what the objectives actually were (I suspect not a lot has changed since then). When I approached the subject by having detailed discussions with a range of international banks and insurance companies on what their policies were, I found the results were certainly not what I expected. The answer was usually very clear for US banks and insurance companies – all net exposures to overseas assets were hedged back into US dollars. Indeed, the question itself was seen as an odd one to ask. But when I asked a UK or Dutch bank or insurance company the currency distribution of their shareholders funds, the answers were often very different and frequently incoherent. Many responded that the distribution was spread across a range of currencies, reflecting the range of international business exposures the company possessed. One major bank admitted it had changed its policy a few times over the previous decade.Why should the US financial institutions have such a very different attitude to Europeans? There is no theoretical reason why one currency benchmark should be preferable to another in an era of international ownership. And there is certainly no reason why US institutions should have a different policy to European ones.The answer must be cultural. The growth of US financial institutions occurred predominantly within a domestic environment during the 19th and most of the 20th centuries. For most of the history of share ownership in the US, shareholders never see foreign currency exposures, and, as a result, any international forays were automatically hedged back into US dollars.In contrast, the growth of capitalism within countries such as the UK and the Netherlands has been associated with the growth of international empires, where foreign currency exposure was an inevitable part of investment activity, both by trading companies and by the banks and insurance companies that supplied services to them. What that meant was that shareholders of the international banks such as HSBC and the insurance companies that spread across their old colonial empires were used to seeing exposures to foreign currencies. Their strategy of international exposure, with the foreign currency exposure it implies, has continued into modern times.The problem we faced then was that, while having a broad exposure to foreign currencies can be a perfectly acceptable theoretical approach, not having a clear benchmark had some negative side-effects. Valuable management time was wasted by asset/ liability management committees taking currency positions that become bets when successful and hedges when not. No doubt, a fun time was had by all in switching some currency positions at a committee meeting after a decent lunch, but, with no clear benchmark, there was also no clear measurement of performance or of any value added by the exercise.The answer lies in companies having a definite position as to where an asset/liability committee can add value, and if it is not in taking currency positions, they should adopt a precise benchmark, announce it publicly and stick to it, allowing their shareholders to take currency bets elsewhere. But when I suggested that as the solution, that idea never took off – it would have removed the after-lunch bets that the committee liked to take once a week.Joseph Mariathasan is a contributing editor at IPElast_img read more

BiH Handball Team Today against Argentina

first_imgAt the World Junior Championships in handball today in Sarajevo is scheduled meetings for the qualification from the ninth to 16th places.BiH Junior National Team plays with Argentina in the struggle for the qualification from 13th  to the 16th  places. The selector Zdenka Grbavac with his team, they already once glorified against Argentina, and today’s eventual victory would bring them at least to the14th position in the world.The game is scheduled for 17.30.In the second match for the qualification of 13 to 16 position at 15.00 pm plays Denmark vs Tunisia.Winners of these meetings will play in the tournament for the 13th place.In the playoff for the qualification of the 9th  to 12th places is Germany vs Serbia (12:30) and Hungary vs Slovenia (20.00).All games are played at the Olympic Hall “Juan Antonio Samaranch“.(Source: read more

Westbrook’s triple-double leads Thunder past Spurs

first_imgSteam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next UK plans Brexit celebrations but warns businesses may suffer Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Sea turtle trapped in net freed in Legazpi City Go for Gold signs Paul Desiderio MOST READ Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) goes to the basket between San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) and forward Rudy Gay (22) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Saturday, March 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)OKLAHOMA CITY — That faint M-V-P chant wasn’t for Russell Westbrook.It was for 37-year-old forward Nick Collison.ADVERTISEMENT GALLERY: Barangay Ginebra back as PBA Governors’ Cup kings Rudy Gay and Davis Bertans each scored 14 points for the Spurs, who have lost eight of 10.LaMarcus Aldridge was held to 11 points on 5-for-16 shooting“They were very aggressive,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “They did a good job. He didn’t have one of his best nights, that’s for sure, but his effort was great. It just didn’t work for him tonight, and OKC was a big part of that.”Brewer’s corner 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the first half gave the Thunder a 52-43 lead. He led Oklahoma City with 10 points before the break.Thunder center Steven Adams came down hard on his left ankle early in the third quarter and did not return. Without his presence on both ends of the floor, the Spurs quickly took advantage and cut Oklahoma City’s lead to 62-58. The Thunder recovered after a timeout and led 77-68 after three quarters.Collison took over in the early part of the fourth quarter. He made a reverse layup to make it 82-70, drew the fifth foul on Aldridge with 7:41 to play, then scored in close a minute later to give the Thunder an 89-72 lead.The Spurs cut their deficit to seven with about two minutes to play, but Westbrook later clinched his triple-double on an assist to Grant for a 3-pointer that put the Thunder up 12.TIP-INSSpurs: F/C Pau Gasol started after sitting out against Golden State on Thursday with a right shoulder injury. … F Kawhi Leonard remained out while recovering from a right quadriceps injury.Thunder: G Terrance Ferguson was out with a concussion he received when he ran into Adams on Thursday against the Phoenix Suns. It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson Westbrook, the NBA’s most valuable player last season, scored 21 points and posted his 19th triple-double of this season to help the Oklahoma City Thunder defeat the San Antonio Spurs 104-94 on Saturday night. Collison, a fan favorite who has been with the Thunder since the team moved from Seattle, stole the show.Collison was pressed into action because starting center Steven Adams came down hard on his left ankle in the third quarter and did not return. Collison entered the game in the fourth quarter for the first time and responded by scoring all seven of his points in a 2:41 span in the fourth quarter for Oklahoma City.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkCollison heard the chant and got a kick out of it.“Sometimes, I feel like the walk-on in college games,” he said. Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Nueva Ecija warehouse making fake cigarettes raided, 29 Chinese workers nabbed Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Westbrook was glad to see Collison show he’s still got it. Collison hadn’t scored as many as seven points in a game since scoring seven on March 22, 2017, against Philadelphia.“He puts in the work and he’s always ready to go,” Westbrook said. “Tonight was one of those nights where he got his number called and he answered like he does every time. It’s a blessing to be on the floor with a guy like him. He’s so unselfish. It’s good to see.”Collison said he just tries to remember that he could be needed at any time. This time, it came in a key matchup between teams that are in the running for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.“There has been a couple years for me where I haven’t played much,” he said. “I’m just trying to focus when I’m out there on what is actually going on. Trying not to let it get into my head too much that I haven’t been out here in a long time — really just focus on the play in front of you. I’ve gotten better at that as I’ve gone on. You just have to stay ready.”Westbrook had 12 rebounds and 10 assists in the 98th triple-double of his career. Jerami Grant scored 15 points, Corey Brewer added 12, Paul George and Alex Abrines each scored 11 and Patrick Patterson had 10 for the Thunder, who improved to 6-3 since the All-Star break.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES STAT LINESOklahoma City’s bench scored 50 points.“I think the biggest thing to me was the emphasis on moving the ball and letting the ball find the open man,” Donovan said.OLD SCHOOLOn several occasions, Popovich played a lineup of players who all were at least 30 years old. Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Danny Green, Gay and Gasol add up to a combined 173 years old. Green, the youngster of the group, turns 31 in June. Ginobili, the elder statesman, is 40.UP NEXTSpurs: at the Houston Rockets on Monday.Thunder: host the Sacramento Kings on Monday. View commentslast_img read more