the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Paramus NJ, The membership of the Veterans of Foreign Wars is shocked to learn of the 39 additional unreported COVID 19 deaths of NJ Veteran Memorial Home residents. The failure to report these deaths leads to the appearance of a cover up by the Administration. While we are supportive of the recently announced Attorney General’s Office investigation into the deaths, it is unacceptable that it took over five months for this investigation to begin. Back in April, the State had in its possession a U.S. Department of Health report which concluded that our veterans, their spouses, and Gold Star parents, were denied the basic human right of a dignified existence. The contents of this report along with the shocking high death rate of the residents should have served as a catalyst to immediately initiate an investigation, not five months later. The lack of transparency and failure to act for five months has eroded any confidence in the Administration’s ability to police itself and the VFW calls on the State Legislature to demand for the Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the failures that caused these deaths.
The VFW has been working with Legislators to correct the deficiencies which will ensure the health and wellbeing of our treasured veterans under state care is second to none. To ensure our veterans are professionally cared for, correct the lack of transparency, and address the numerous family and resident concerns, the VFW has drafted legislation which would create a Veteran Memorial Home Ombudsman Office and an Oversight Committee. Time is of the essence, and we must act sooner rather than later to protect these residents.
Never again should resident or family member concerns fall on deaf ears, nor should the homes operate in a manner that would cause our veterans to suffer the highest death rates in the world.
Never again can we allow 34% of our veterans under state care to needlessly die.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars is committed to fighting for these veterans and their families.