New Jersey legislators are pushing the state’s attorney general to investigate whether criminal negligence occurred at at a long-term care facility where 11 children have died.
With the adenovirus outbreak at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, NJ, now in its eighth week, lawmakers last week raised new concerns. In a letter to Attorney General Gurbir Grewal Nov. 20, officials asked the AG to investigate allegations that the facility avoided sending sick children to the hospital for fear of losing Medicaid reimbursement for their care.
“If children should have been transported to ICU beds or area hospitals quicker, in my eyes it rises to the level of criminal,” said state Rep. Holly Schepisi (R), who signed the letter along with state Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R) and state Rep. Robert Auth (R), the North Jersey Record reported. All three are Republicans and represent the 39th district, where the facility is located.
The Wanaque Center has retained the council of former U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman to represent it in court. In a statement earlier this month, Administrator Rowena Bautista said, “We have cooperated fully with the New Jersey Department of Health to meet all of their requests and requirements.”
The center was able to resume admissions to its adult unit on Nov. 20. New admissions remain curtailed for pediatric patients, though 41 still remained at the center as of last week. At least 34 children have been exposed to the adenovirus, which causes flu- and cold-like symptoms and can be especially harmful to medically fragile patients.