What Went Wrong In New Jersey VA Nursing Home That’s Seen At Least 72 Deaths?
Families and loved ones of veterans living demand answers as to why VA facilities, like the New Jersey Veterans Home at Paramus, are being so hard hit. “The whole place is sick now,” said Mitchell Haber, whose 91-year-old father, Arnold, an Army veteran, died last month.
Superintendent Bragged About VA Review Of Short-Staffed Soldiers Home. Two Months Later, 73 Veterans Are Dead.
On March 10, trustees of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home in Massachusetts heard a glowing review of the facility’s operations. For the third year in a row, the home’s superintendent reported to the board, the 247-bed nursing home met or provisionally met the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care standards. We “are happy to report a ‘three peat,’” Superintendent Bennett Walsh told the board, according to minutes of the meeting. The VA inspection actually identified three minor deficiencies that didn’t meet standards, according to documents reviewed by ProPublica. (Armstrong, 5/11)
The New York Times:
‘The Whole Place Is Sick Now’: 72 Deaths At A Home For U.S. Veterans
The coronavirus has preyed on residents of nursing homes in New Jersey with lethal force, claiming more than 4,850 lives. Deaths at long-term care facilities now account for half of the state’s Covid-19 fatalities, well over the national rate. As of Sunday, 15 nursing homes had reported 30 or more deaths apiece, including four with more than 50 deaths, state records show. But nowhere has the devastation been starker than at the New Jersey Veterans Home at Paramus, a state-run home for former members of the U.S. military. (Tully, 5/10)
In other veterans' health news —
The Associated Press:
Schumer Calls On VA To Explain Use Of Unproven Drug On Vets
The Senate’s top Democrat on Sunday called on the Department of Veterans Affairs to explain why it allowed the use of an unproven drug on veterans for the coronavirus, saying patients may have been put at unnecessary risk. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York said the VA needs to provide Congress more information about a recent bulk order for $208,000 worth of hydroxychloroquine. President Donald Trump has heavily promoted the malaria drug, without evidence, as a treatment for COVID-19. (Yen and Balsamo, 5/11)
Kaiser Health News:
Keeping The COVID Plague At Bay: How California Is Protecting Older Veterans
Dr. Vito Imbasciani has been at war with viruses since he was 5. Growing up near the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York, he contracted polio in 1952 and couldn’t walk for two months. In medical school in Vermont 30 years later, he witnessed AIDS steal the lives of otherwise healthy gay men. Now, Imbasciani, secretary of California’s Department of Veterans Affairs, and his staff are responsible for keeping the novel coronavirus away from the state’s eight veterans homes. California’s defenses are holding. (Morain, 5/11)