Congressmen call for official to step down after overseeing more than 80 covid-related deaths at North Jersey facility
U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-05) today demanded the resignation of Matthew Schottlander, Chief Executive Officer of the state-run New Jersey Veterans Home in Paramus, New Jersey. The tragedy at Paramus resulted in the deaths of dozens of residents and an employee, and the endangerment of many more. Since April, the two congressmen have monitored the crisis closely, and responded by requesting investigations, seeking support, and delivering assistance to the home.
“As the coronavirus swept through New Jersey, mismanagement and a lack of transparency at the state-run Paramus Veterans Home resulted in needless death and preventable tragedy,” Pascrell and Gottheimer said. “North Jersey was the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis. In Paramus, the pandemic exposed the known deficiencies at the facility. The situation demanded transparency, honesty, cooperation, and competency. The response by those in charge at the Paramus Veterans Home did not meet this moment. Worse, it set the facility up to fail and hindered response efforts. Knowing a resurgence of coronavirus later this year remains a threat, there must be accountability now for these documented failures. Our veterans and seniors deserve better. We believe the Chief Executive Officer of the New Jersey Veterans Home in Paramus must resign.”
In late April, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) inspected the state-run facility, found it not to be in compliance, and stated that all residents and staff were found to be in immediate jeopardy — the most severe level of harm.
Recent public reporting detailed how COVID-19 spread quickly through the facility due to lax infection control procedures, poor decisions, and a lack of proper personnel training.
Reps. Pascrell and Gottheimer led calls for an investigation at the Paramus home since the outset of the coronavirus crisis. At their urging, the federal Veterans Affairs department sent 56 health care workers to support the facility. Infectious disease experts were also sent to Paramus to prevent spread of the virus at their request in April. The two Congressmen visited the home in May and last month participated in a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on coronavirus and veterans homes.