Is the legislature finally ready to investigate N.J. nursing home deaths?

Is the legislature finally ready to investigate N.J. nursing home deaths?

At least 8,500 nursing home residents – possibly 10,000 – have died during New Jersey’s Covid pandemic. Trenton reached a $53 million settlement with the families of 100 veterans who expired in state-run homes.

On Friday, state Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) signed on as a prime sponor of Senator Nia H. Gill’s SR-48 to FINALLY investigage what happened by a forming a special 7-member committee.

“I want to thank Senator Gill for taking the mantle on this poignant issue, and for allowing me to partner with her as a prime sponsor,” said Pennacchio. “In her quest for the truth, Senator Gill has become a voice for the voiceless, an advocate for the thousands of seniors who died from COVID in New Jersey nursing homes and the families who lost loved ones.”

“The only way that we can ensure the public receives the answers they deserve is to have this committee in the legislature,” added Gill. “We must have a comprehensive report on how our system of care failed seniors and their families and how we can improve these systems going forward. With variants of COVID-19 posing a continuing risk to seniors and other medically at-risk individuals, our state must form a comprehensive and forward-thinking pandemic response plan to ensure the safety of long-term care residents.”

Pennacchio has long advocated for a full-scale probe. Unfortunately, legislative Democrats stonewalled attempts to take a critical look at the Murphy Administration’s actions.

With Phil Murphy reelected but the public mood turning against the Covid response consensus, families of victims could finally get some answers.

“It is encouraging to see bipartisan support for an inquiry,” said Pennacchio.  “Without an official forum, it is obvious New Jersey residents will never learn the truth about what happened in the nursing homes and what could have been done to prevent the tragedies and save lives.”