VFW renews demand for N.J. nursing home probe ahead of Veterans Day

Garden State voters clearly didn’t care (at least not enough), Save Jerseyans, but some New Jerseyans still want answers for the carnage.

A brand new 293-page Health Department report out this week conveyed disconcertion news: safety issues are persisting at the state-run veterans facility at Menlo Park despite nearly three years having elapsed since the Covid-19 pandemic during which time 10,000 nursing home residents and staff succumbed to the virus. A cosmetic Murphy Administration shake up (before his reelection) was clearly exactly that: cosmetic.

The New Jersey department of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) seized upon the report to renew its demand for an investigation.

“The recent report of the conditions at our state operated Veterans Memorial Home in Menlo Park is distressing,” said Jay Boxwell, the state commander. “The report strongly suggests that under Governor Murphy’s watch the conditions have not significantly improved since 2020 when our New Jersey veterans under his care died in the highest numbers of any population in the world from COVID. It is hard to believe that after the shocking federal report in 2020 concerning the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home the state continues to care for our veterans as second-class citizens. The 2020 report determined our veterans under state care were “denied a dignified existence” before they died due to the substandard and dangerous conditions.”

“The Veterans of Foreign Wars was aware this new report highlighted dangerous conditions. During a recent meeting with the leadership of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs we requested a copy of the report and were denied. Later that week during a meeting with Governor Murphy and the Adjutant General we again asked for a copy of the report and were denied,” continued Boxwell. “On October 27th the Veterans of Foreign Wars met with Governor Murphy and his staff to present our plan to improve the lives and well-being of the residents with a capital improvement plan with 65% of the cost funded by the U.S. Veterans Administration. This plan provides for single room occupancy rooms and negative pressure ventilation rooms to support the infectious control measures required.

“We call on Governor Murphy and the Legislature to fully investigate the past and current conditions of the three Memorial Homes, and to properly fund capital improvement projects that save veteran lives,” Boxwell concluded. “This Veteran’s Day is an opportunity for our state government to begin to honor the service of the past, current, and future Veterans Memorial Home residents by making improvements which will ensure they are finally provided with a safe and dignified existence.”

Matt Rooney
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MATT ROONEY is SaveJersey.com's founder and editor-in-chief, a practicing New Jersey attorney, and the host of 'The Matt Rooney Show' on 1210 WPHT every Sunday evening from 7-10PM EST.