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KIYC: State Commission of Investigation says COVID exposed ‘systemic problems’ at NJ veterans’ homes

The report says the facilities were not prepared for massive absenteeism by staff.

Walt Kane

Oct 3, 2023, 5:14 PM

Updated 260 days ago


Another government watchdog is criticizing the practices of New Jersey's state-run veterans' homes during the COVID-19, confirming issues that Kane In Your Corner first exposed back in 2020.
Nearly 200 people died from the virus at New Jersey veteran facilities, and a series of Kane In Your Corner investigations found that poor patient care was one of the main reasons.
The New Jersey Memorial Veterans Home at Menlo Park, in Edison, was the site of one of the worst COVID outbreaks at any assisted living facility in the United States. Back in 2020, Kane In Your Corner found significant problems with infection control procedures, including sick and infected patients being housed in the same rooms, staff being told they could not wear masks, and rooms that were not thoroughly cleaned or sanitized, even after patients died of COVID inside them.
Now, a report from the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation agrees with Kane In Your Corner’s findings. The SCI says the pandemic exposed what it calls “systemic problems” at the homes. They say the facilities were not prepared for the massive absenteeism that occurred early on in the pandemic, and that communication often broke down between state agencies and management.
This isn’t the first time the veterans’ homes have been named in government investigations. Last month, the U.S. Justice Department said conditions were so bad, they might have violated some residents’ civil rights.
The Murphy administration has since contracted out management of the facilities to a private company.

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