Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) today asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to assess conditions at the Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation II facility, which became notorious in 2020 for its high Covid death rate, amid a surge in Omicron variant Covid cases.
According to state data, only 52% of the facility’s residents – and zero of its staff – have received booster shots. 213 residents and 114 staff at the facility have contracted Covid in the current wave, with three residents dying.
“The facility owes the public and the families of those impacted their compliance with federal care requirements,” Gottheimer said in his letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “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.”
The facility, which was recently renamed the Woodland Behavioral and Nursing Center, entered the national spotlight after 17 residents who had died of Covid were discovered in a makeshift morgue in April 2020. A Star-Ledger investigation found, however, that the facility had been troubled for years before that due to staffing shortages and inadequate care.
Gottheimer previously asked the state and CMS to investigate the facility in spring 2020; that investigation found that the facility was “not in substantial compliance” with federal regulations.