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Gottheimer requests federal and state updates on Andover Subacute, Woodland behavioral long-term care facility inspection corrections

NORTH JERSEY — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) Thursday asked the U.S. Department Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to address conditions at the Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation II facility, now known as Woodland Behavioral and Nursing Center — the site of the worst current COVID-19 omicron outbreak in New Jersey.

Gottheimer requested an update on the facility’s compliance with corrective actions that were supposed to be put in place following the May 2020 CMS inspection. Gottheimer has also requested an update from the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office on their ongoing investigation into the facility.

According to public reports, the Andover Subacute/Woodland Behavioral and Nursing Center facility has at least 192 residents and 108 employees who have tested positive amid the omicron wave, with only 52.4% of residents having received booster shots and no facility staff having received boosters. Three residents have died.

“Now, more than a year removed from these initial findings, the facility owes the public and the families of those impacted their compliance with federal care requirements. This is particularly important given the news that emerged just this week that the same facility is now the site of New Jersey’s worst current COVID-19 outbreak, with 192 residents and 108 employees having tested positive amid the omicron wave. According to state data, as of this week, only 52.4 percent of the facility’s residents had received their booster shots, and none of the facility’s staff were boosted,” Gottheimer wrote in a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure this week. “Families should have confidence that elderly relatives and veterans will be well cared for in their later years, whether residing in private or state-run long-term care facilities.”

When first contacted about issues at the Andover facility in April 2020, Gottheimer continued to request coordination, action, and resources from the State of New Jersey, FEMA, and the federal government to address COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities in North Jersey. Gottheimer was also in regular contact with NJ Department of Health (NJDOH) Commissioner Judith Persichilli and with the Governor’s office regarding the crisis at the Andover facility.

During the height of the 2020 crisis, a police inspection of the Andover Subacute facility found 17 bodies piled in a makeshift morgue.

Gottheimer asked the State and CMS in April 2020 to investigate the Andover facility. The CMS inspection report found that the Andover Subacute II facility was not in substantial compliance with federal requirements, imposed a Civil Money Penalty accruing a total of $220,235, and required the facility to submit a Plan of Correction (PoC) for the deficiencies cited by CMS.

In April 2020, Gottheimer also asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to deploy National Guard and Reserves to assist North Jersey long-term care facilities in need, and he requested that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) deploy U.S. Public Health Service front-line health care workers. Gottheimer also asked the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to fulfill the State of New Jersey’s request for additional assistance for all long-term care facilities in dire need throughout the State at the time.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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