the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ramsey NJ, Republican Congressional candidate, Frank Pallotta (NJ-05), blasted Democrat Congressmen Josh Gottheimer and Bill Pascrell for blaming a Murphy underling while failing to hold the Governor accountable for more than 6,700 nursing and veterans home deaths due to COVID-19.
In a NorthJersey.com story published earlier today, Gottheimer and Pascrell called for the CEO of the New Jersey Veterans Home at Paramus to resign… before an expected second wave of COVID-19 emerges this fall and winter. Quoting from a statement by the two Democrats, reporter Scott Fallon wrote: “Mismanagement and a lack of transparency at the state run Paramus Veterans Home resulted in needless death and preventable tragedy.”
“In their statement, Gottheimer and Pascrell acknowledge that these facilities are the responsibility of the state and that the deaths were needless and preventable, but they won’t dare criticize the man in charge,” said Pallotta, “Why? Is politics more important than taking responsibility?”
Fallon noted: “The Paramus home leads the state in nursing home deaths, with 81 residents and one caregiver dying from COVID. It is one of the highest death tolls nationally. Almost 300 residents and staff have been infected.”
Instead of looking down the chain-of-command for a fall-guy to blame, Gottheimer and Pascrell should be honest and acknowledge that the blame lies with their political leader – Governor Phil Murphy. It was Murphy who used one of his executive orders to force COVID-19 patients into these facilities.
In May, Senator Joe Pennacchio obtained a letter sent by the New Jersey Department of Health dated March 31 telling the administrators of “post-acute care facilities” that patients could not be denied admission because of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. The letter also states “post-acute care facilities are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized patient/resident who is determined medically stable, to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”
The letter, signed by New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli, specifically references the Governor’s executive order: “On March 9, 2020 Governor Philip D. Murphy issued Executive Order No. 103, declaring a Public Health Emergency in New Jersey as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to respond to the increase in positive cases, there is an urgent need to expand hospital capacity to be able to meet the demand for patients with COVID-19 requiring acute care. As a result, this directive is being issued to clarify expectations post-acute care settings receiving patients/residents returning from hospitalization and for accepting new admissions.” The letter states: “all post-acute care settings must comply”.
Senator Pennacchio made the observation that the Murphy administration “has continually cited testing as a way to identify and respond to COVID-19. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense that he would specifically not want to test patients who would enter isolated nursing homes containing our most vulnerable population”. “Gottheimer and Pascrell are trying to put the spotlight on a Murphy underling, on the same day that Murphy finally releases money to assist long-term care facilities. The money is coming five months after Murphy’s infamous executive order that sent COVID-19 patients into these facilities and precipitated the crisis in the first place.”
In a statement released yesterday, the Murphy administration announced that it would provide “long-term care facilities with $155 million in additional funding as they look to reopen to visitors and resume normal operations.” The statement said that the funding “will be a mix of state and federal monies”. Governor Murphy is quoted in the statement: “Throughout this pandemic, one of the most impacted communities in our state has been the residents and staff of our long-term care facilities. Today’s announcement will allow facilities to meet the ongoing challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic”.
Pallotta noted: “Murphy’s statement is shameless. His executive order caused the problem that resulted in the deaths of thousands. Why no apology or even an acknowledgement?”