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Mazzeo, Armato & Chaparro Bill Requiring a Resident Advocate at Each State Veterans’ Home Passes Assembly

In an effort to help protect and improve the lives of residents in New Jersey’s three veterans’ homes, Assembly Democrats Vincent Mazzeo, John Armato and Annette Chaparro sponsor a bill to require resident advocates in these facilities. The legislation unanimously passed the full Assembly Thursday.

With concerns raised about policies and procedures in these homes after many veterans fell ill and tragically died during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Legislature has worked to improve conditions for the residents in state’s veterans’ memorial homes.

Under the bill (A-5854), the Division of Veterans’ Healthcare Services in the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs (DMVA) would be required to establish a position known as ‘resident advocate’ in each of the state’s memorial homes.

The advocate would act as a liaison between the home and its residents, and would be readily available to receive complaints from residents and respond to any concerns or grievances they may have. If appropriate, the advocate would submit those concerns to the New Jersey Long-Term Care Ombudsman.

Upon the measure’s passage, Assembly sponsors Mazzeo, Armato (both D-Atlantic) and Chaparro (D-Hudson) released the following joint statement:

“The veterans in our memorial homes may not always be in a position to advocate for themselves and might need someone else to advocate on their behalf. Assigning a resident advocate to each home to serve as a point of contact for our veterans will make it easier for them to share any concerns or grievances they may have. After everything our veterans have done for this country, they have earned our utmost respect and gratitude. A resident advocate in these homes will help ensure our veterans receive the proper care and treatment they deserve.”

The bill now heads to the Senate.