NORTH JERSEY — Today, May 25, 2022, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) applauded the move by the State of New Jersey to seek a change in control at the Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation II facility, now known as Woodland Behavioral and Nursing Center. Earlier this year, Gottheimer began publicly pushing for the facility to be immediately shut down, and Gottheimer stated that if the facility cannot properly care for seniors, then it needs to be investigated and revamped or closed.
In a filing this week in New Jersey Superior Court, the State moved for a court-appointed receiver to assume control over the facility’s operations as further steps — including potential closure of the facility — are determined.
In January of this year, Gottheimer asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to address conditions at Andover Subacute, as the facility experienced the worst COVID-19 omicron outbreak in New Jersey at the time. 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.
“I refuse to stand by while Jersey seniors are put at risk. It’s clear that investigations, fines, and promises of improvement from the current owners of Andover Subacute haven’t been enough. After I sounded the alarm earlier this year, I’m glad to see New Jersey now moving forward to change control at the facility,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “Families should have confidence that older 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 early 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.