Feds play hardball, launch investigation of state-run nursing homes after they say N.J. failed to respond

Two months ago in the wake of the mounting death toll at New Jersey’s veterans homes, the U.S. Department of Justice requested information regarding the spread of COVID-19 in the state-operated nursing homes.

Rather than provide all the data requested, however, investigators said the state instead referred federal investigators to New Jersey’s website.

That did not sit well with the Justice Department.

In a letter to the Murphy administration on Tuesday night, the U.S. Attorney’s office and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said they were launching an investigation into the veterans homes in Menlo Park, Paramus and Vineland under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act.

“In conducting the investigation, we are obliged to determine whether there are systemic violations of the constitution or laws of the United States in the veterans homes,” wrote U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito and Eric S. Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights

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Feds are sending doctors, nurses to aid N.J. veterans homes where almost 200 have died

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that doctors and nurses from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will spend the next month at two of New Jersey’s veterans nursing homes, where 190 residents died from the coronavirus.

The news comes just days after the governor accepted the resignation of Brigadier General Jemal J. Beale, the adjutant general who oversees the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

Murphy also announced Friday the CEOs of the veterans homes in Menlo Park and Paramus, where 101 and 89 residents died, respectively, will be replaced.

“Especially as we begin to transition to new leadership at our veterans homes, these additional hands will play an essential role,” the governor said during his routine pandemic briefing in Trenton.

“This staff support began this morning and will continue for at least four weeks,” Murphy said.

“I thank Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie – who I have

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CVS, Walgreens to distribute Covid vaccines to nursing homes, feds say

The federal government has made a deal with retail pharmacies CVS and Walgreens to help distribute coronavirus vaccine — once one or more gets authorized — to long-term care facilities like nursing homes, federal officials said Friday.





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The two drugstore chains are the best placed to send out mobile units to vaccinate seniors and other vulnerable people on site, Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy at the Health and Human Services Department, told reporters in a telephone briefing.

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“This is a completely voluntary program on the part of every nursing home. This is an opt-in program,” Mango said.

It will be up to the drugstore chains to figure out how to deliver the vaccines, including cold storage requirements and personal protective equipment. The retailers also will have to determine how to collect fees from Medicare, Medicaid or private insurers for administering the

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Feds planning now to get coronavirus shots to nursing homes

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FILE – In this July 17, 2020 file photo, a senior citizen holds the hand of a care coordinator at a Health facility in Miami. Federal health officials on Friday unveiled a plan to get approved coronavirus vaccines to nursing home residents free of cost, with the aid of two national pharmacy chains. No vaccine has yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and the distribution program is contingent on that happening first.

AP

Federal health officials on Friday unveiled a plan to get yet-to-be-approved coronavirus vaccines to nursing home residents free of charge, enlisting two national pharmacy chains to help.

Such a vaccine is not yet available. The distribution program is contingent on the Food and Drug Administration authorizing a vaccine, which does not appear to be imminent. While one nursing home industry group endorsed the administration’s effort, another one was guarded in its

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Feds unveil plan to get coronavirus shots to nursing homes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal health officials on Friday unveiled a plan to get approved coronavirus vaccines to nursing home residents free of cost, with the aid of two national pharmacy chains.



FILE - In this July 17, 2020 file photo, a senior citizen holds the hand of a care coordinator at a Health facility in Miami.  Federal health officials on Friday unveiled a plan to get approved coronavirus vaccines to nursing home residents free of cost, with the aid of two national pharmacy chains.
No vaccine has yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and the distribution program is contingent on that happening first. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)


© Provided by Associated Press
FILE – In this July 17, 2020 file photo, a senior citizen holds the hand of a care coordinator at a Health facility in Miami. Federal health officials on Friday unveiled a plan to get approved coronavirus vaccines to nursing home residents free of cost, with the aid of two national pharmacy chains.
No vaccine has yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and the distribution program is contingent on that happening first. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

No vaccine has yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and the distribution program is contingent on that happening first.

Under the plan, trained staff from CVS and Walgreens will deliver the vaccines to

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N.J. post office contractor stole $15K in checks, cash, feds say

A contract custodian was arrested Thursday and charged with stealing nearly $15,000 in checks and cash from an Essex County post office where he worked, federal authorities said.

Mark Gregory Jr. stole checks put into the mail stream by customers and cash from patrons at the Maplewood Post Office, according to court documents. He also allegedly deposited the checks into his accounts.

Gregory, 27, of East Orange, faces charges of bank fraud and theft of government property for the scheme that lasted from March to July, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

In one case, a customer told a clerk at the Maplewood Avenue post office that an individual using the name “Mark Gregory” deposited two checks written by the customer from a bank to a corporate entity, a U.S. Postal Inspection Service inspector said in a criminal complaint.

“The (checks) had both been altered with the

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