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New Jersey Agrees To $53 Million Settlement With Families Of Nursing Home Patients Who Died Of COVID

(Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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The state of New Jersey has agreed to pay $53 million to families of 119 veterans who died of COVID-19 at two state-run nursing homes.

In the first eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic, 101 residents of Menlo Park Veterans Memorial Home in Edison, N.J. died of COVID-19, and 89 more died at a home in nearby Paramus, N.J., according to The New York Times. The families of the victims were preparing lawsuits for “gross negligence,” but will now receive payouts of, on average, $445,ooo each.

The agreement is the first multi-case settlement over COVID-19 deaths at a long-term care facility in the country. However, dozens more suits linked to nursing home deaths during the pandemic are pending across the country, against both public and private facilities, according to the NYT.

The families alleged that staff at the facilities were barred from wearing masks before April 2020 so as not to scare residents, and that sick and healthy residents were not kept separate for activities.

Some workers testified that they were not allowed to wear masks once the homes were closed to the public in March 2020, and that they were prohibited from taking masks from the facilities’ rationed supply. (RELATED: Study: More Than Half Of Omicron Hospitalizations Weren’t Actually For COVID-19)

Regina Constantino Discenza, a daughter of two residents of the Edison facility who both died, described the situation as a “horror show” to the NYT. And the settlement won’t make up for what happened to them, she said.

“It will never justify what happened to these poor people. But it’s making a point: These veterans were not properly cared for.”