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Assembly Passes Swain, Tully & Freiman Bill Allowing Guardians to Remove Residents from Veterans Homes During Emergencies without Losing Bed Upon Return

To ensure veterans can return to a veterans’ memorial home if they are temporarily removed during an outbreak or pandemic, a bill sponsored by Assembly Democrats Lisa Swain, Christopher Tully and Roy Freiman would permit guardians to remove veterans from these facilities during a public health emergency.

Guardians would be allowed to remove the veteran from the home following the usual procedures, except that the department of Military and Veterans Affairs would allow for an initial extension of up to 30 days and an additional extension of 30 days. So long as the resident veteran continued to pay the facility’s care and maintenance fee while on temporary furlough, their bed would be held for them at the veterans’ memorial home under the bill (A-5851).

Upon the bill unanimously passing the full Assembly Thursday, Assembly sponsors Swain, Tully (both D-Bergen, Passaic) and Freiman (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon) issued the following joint statement:

“We have seen the kind of impact a public health emergency can have on a congregate living setting such as our veterans’ memorial homes. In the event of an infectious disease rapidly spreading throughout our state, families need to be able to take their loved one out of a veterans’ home without worrying about them losing their place in that facility once the crisis is over. Allowing legal guardians to remove veterans from these facilities during a public health emergency will help save lives and ensure our vets still have a home to return to once it is safe to do so.”

The measure now heads to the Senate.