Testosterone is a crucial hormone for men and plays an important role throughout the male lifespan. Most of a male's testosterone is produced through the testicles. Also called the male sex hormone, testosterone starts playing its part during puberty.
When a male goes through puberty, testosterone helps males develop:
As boys turn to men and men grow older, testosterone levels deplete naturally. Sometimes, events like injuries and chronic health conditions like diabetes can lower testosterone levels. Unfortunately, when a man loses too much T, it results in hypogonadism. When this happens, the testosterone must be replaced, or the male will suffer from symptoms like muscle loss, low libido, and even depression.
TRT is exactly what it sounds like: a treatment option for men that replaces testosterone so that your body regulates hormones properly and restores balance to your life. Also called androgen replacement therapy, TRT alleviates the symptoms that men experience with low T.
Originally lab-synthesized in 1935, testosterone has grown in popularity since it was produced. Today, TRT and other testosterone treatments are among the most popular prescriptions in the U.S.
Without getting too deep into the science, TRT works by giving your body the essential testosterone it needs to function correctly. As the primary androgen for both males and females, testosterone impacts many of the body's natural processes â especially those needed for overall health. For example, men with low T are more prone to serious problems like cardiovascular disease and even type-2 diabetes.
When your body quits making enough testosterone, it causes your health to suffer until a solution is presented. That's where TRT and anti-aging medicine for men can help. TRT helps balance your hormones and replenish your depleted testosterone. With time, your body will begin to heal, and many symptoms like low libido and irritability begin to diminish.
For men, aging is the biggest contributor to lower testosterone levels, though there are other causes like obesity, drug abuse, testicular injuries, and certain prescribed medications. Sometimes, long-term health conditions like AIDS, cirrhosis of the liver, and kidney disease can lower testosterone levels.
When a man's testosterone levels drop significantly, it alters his body's ratio of estrogen and testosterone. Lower testosterone levels cause more abdominal fat, which in turn results in increased aromatase, which converts even more testosterone into estrogen.
If you're concerned that you might have low T, you're not alone. Millions of men in the U.S. feel the same way. The best way to find out if your testosterone is low is to get your levels tested.
For sustainable testosterone replacement therapy benefits, you must consult with hormone doctors and experts like those you can find at Global Life Rejuvenation. That way, you can find the root cause of your hormone problems, and our team can craft a personalized HRT plan tailored to your needs.
One of the most common reasons that men choose TRT is because they have lost that "spark" with their partner. It's not easy for a man to hear that they're not performing like they used to. Intimacy is a powerful part of any relationship. When a once-healthy sex life dwindles, it can cause serious relationship issues.
The good news is that low libido doesn't have to be a permanent problem. TRT and anti-aging medicines help revert hormone levels back into their normal range. When this happens, many men have a more enjoyable life full of intimacy and sex drive.
Weak erections â it's an uncomfortable subject for many men in the U.S. to talk about. It's even worse to experience first-hand. You're in the midst of an intimate moment, and you can't do your part. Despite being perfectly normal, many men put blame and shame upon themselves when they can't achieve an erection. And while the inability to perform sexually can be caused by poor diet, obesity, and chronic health conditions, low testosterone is often a contributing factor.
Fortunately, weak erections are a treatable condition. The best way to regain your confidence and ability in bed is to speak with your doctor. Once any underlying conditions are discovered, options like TRT may be the best course of treatment.
Do you find it harder and harder to work out and lift weights in the gym? Are you having problems lifting heavy items that you once had no problem lifting?
Recent studies show that when men are inactive, they lose .5% of muscle strength every year, from ages 25 to 60. After 60, muscle loss doubles every decade. While some muscle loss is common as men age, a significant portion can be tied to low testosterone levels. When a man's T levels drop, so does his muscle mass.
Testosterone is a much-needed component used in gaining and retaining muscle mass. That's why many doctors prescribe TRT Andover, NJ, for men having problems with strength. One recent study found that men who increased their testosterone levels using TRT gained as much as 2.5 pounds of muscle mass.
Whether your gym performance is lacking, or you can't lift heavy items like you used to, don't blame it all on age. You could be suffering from hypogonadism.
If you're like millions of other men in their late 20s and 30s, dealing with hair loss is a reality you don't want to face. Closely related to testosterone decline and hormone imbalances, hair loss is distressing for many men. This common symptom is often related to a derivative of testosterone called DHT. Excess amounts of DHT cause hair follicles to halt their production, causing follicles to die.
Because hair located at the front and crown is more sensitive to DHT, it grows slower than other follicles and eventually stops growing permanently. Thankfully, TRT and anti-aging treatments for men in Andover, NJ, is now available to address hair loss for good.
While it's true that you can't change your genes, you can change the effects of low testosterone on your body. Whether you're suffering from thinning hair or hair loss across your entire head, TRT and other hormone therapies can stop hair loss and even reverse the process.
Also called "man boobs," gynecomastia is essentially the enlargement of male breast tissue. This increase in fatty tissue is often caused by hormonal imbalances and an increase in estrogen. For men, estrogen levels are elevated during andropause. Also called male menopause, andropause usually happens because of a lack of testosterone.
If you're a man between the ages of 40 and 55, and you're embarrassed by having large breasts, don't lose hope. TRT is a safe, effective way to eliminate the underlying cause of gynecomastia without invasive surgery. With a custom HRT and fitness program, you can bring your testosterone and estrogen levels back to normal before you know it.
Decreased energy was once considered a normal part of aging. Today, many doctors know better. Advances in technology and our understanding of testosterone show that low T and lack of energy often go hand-in-hand.
If you're struggling to enjoy activities like playing with your kids or hiking in a park due to lack of energy, it could be a sign of low T. Of course, getting tired is perfectly normal for any man. But if you're suffering from continual fatigue, a lack of enjoyment, or a decrease in energy, it might be time to speak with a doctor.
Whether you're having a tough time getting through your day or can't finish activities you used to love, TRT could help.
A study from 2011 showed that men who lose a week's worth of sleep can experience lowered testosterone levels â as much as 15%, according to experts. Additional research into the topic found almost 15% of workers only get five hours of sleep (or less) per night. These findings suggest that sleep loss negatively impacts T levels and wellbeing.
The bottom line is that men who have trouble sleeping often suffer from lower testosterone levels as a result. If you find yourself exhausted at the end of the day but toss and turn all night long, you might have low T.
TRT and anti-aging medicines can restore your T levels back to normal, which can help you sleep better with proper diet and exercise.
You're feeling down about everything, and there's no solid explanation for why you're in such a crummy mood. Your daily life is great and full of success, but you can't help but feel unexcited and unmotivated. If you're experiencing symptoms like these, you may be depressed â and it may stem from low testosterone.
A research study from Munich found that men with depression also commonly had low testosterone levels. This same study also found that depressed men had cortisol levels that were 67% higher than other men. Because higher cortisol levels lead to lower levels of testosterone, the chances of severe depression increase.
Depression is a very real disorder and should always be diagnosed and treated by your doctor. One treatment option gaining in popularity is TRT for depression. Studies show that when TRT is used to restore hormone levels, men enjoy a lighter, more improved mood. That's great news for men who are depressed and have not had success with other treatments like anti-depression medicines, which alter the brain's chemistry.
Ask anyone over the age of 50 how their memory is, and they'll tell you it wasn't what it used to be. Memory loss and lack of concentration occur naturally as we age â these aren't always signs of dementia or Alzheimer's.
However, what many men consider a symptom of age may be caused by low testosterone. A 2006 study found that males with low T levels performed poorly on cognitive skill tests. These results suggest that low testosterone may play a part in reducing cognitive ability. If you're having trouble staying on task or remembering what your schedule is for the day, it might not be due to your age. It might be because your testosterone levels are too low. If you're having trouble concentrating or remembering daily tasks, it could be time to talk to your doctor.
Why? The aforementioned study found that participating men experienced improved cognitive skills when using TRT.
Even though today's society is more inclusive of large people, few adults enjoy gaining weight as they age. Despite their best efforts, many men just can't shed the extra pounds around their midsections, increasing their risk of heart disease and cancer.
Often, male weight gain is caused by hormone imbalances that slow the metabolism and cause weight to pile on. This phase of life is called andropause and happens when there is a lack of testosterone in the body. Couple that with high cortisol levels, and you've got a recipe for flabby guts and double chins.
Fortunately, TRT treatments and physician-led weight loss programs can correct hormone imbalances and lead to healthy weight loss for men.
Sermorelin is a synthetic hormone peptide, like GHRH, which triggers the release of growth hormones. When used under the care of a qualified physician, Sermorelin can help you lose weight, increase your energy levels, and help you feel much younger.
Human growth hormone (HGH) therapy has been used for years to treat hormone deficiencies. Unlike HGH, which directly replaces declining human growth hormone levels, Sermorelin addresses the underlying cause of decreased HGH, stimulating the pituitary gland naturally. This approach keeps the mechanisms of growth hormone production active.
Benefits of Sermorelin include:
Ipamorelin helps to release growth hormones in a person's body by mimicking a peptide called ghrelin. Ghrelin is one of three hormones which work together to regulate the growth hormone levels released by the pituitary gland. Because Ipamorelin stimulates the body to produce growth hormone, your body won't stop its natural growth hormone production, which occurs with synthetic HGH.
Ipamorelin causes growth hormone secretion that resembles natural release patterns rather than being constantly elevated from HGH. Because ipamorelin stimulates the natural production of growth hormone, our patients can use this treatment long-term with fewer health risks.
One of the biggest benefits of Ipamorelin is that it is suitable for both men and women. It provides significant short and long-term benefits in age management therapies, boosting patients' overall health, wellbeing, and outlook on life. When growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland using Ipamorelin, clients report amazing benefits.
Some of those benefits include:
Whether you are considering our TRT services, HRT for women, or our growth hormone peptide services, we are here to help. The first step to turning back the hand of time starts by contacting Global Life Rejuvenation.
Our friendly, knowledgeable TRT and HRT experts can help answer your questions and walk you through our procedures. From there, we'll figure out which treatments are right for you. Before you know it, you'll be well on your way to looking and feeling better than you have in years!973-587-8638
Residents at Andover facility suffered physical, emotional harmWASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, recently pushed for a robust federal response after reports surfaced of egregious conditions at the Woodland Behavioral and Nursing Center in Andover, N.J. Grassley specifically called on the Centers for Med...
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, recently pushed for a robust federal response after reports surfaced of egregious conditions at the Woodland Behavioral and Nursing Center in Andover, N.J. Grassley specifically called on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to detail its own review of Woodland, including decisions about whether to terminate the facility’s participation in Medicare and Medicaid.
Last week, CMS announced it plans to terminate Woodland Behavioral and Nursing Center from the Medicare program effective June 25. The termination notice states that the nursing home “no longer meets the requirements for participation as a skilled nursing facility in the Medicare program” following “a careful review of the facts” from surveys and on-site visits.
“The reports of abuse and awful conditions at the Woodland nursing home were disturbing, and to make matters worse, it seems these problems have persisted for years. I’m glad CMS has listened to my oversight request and taken steps to investigate further, which has now led them to terminate service. If a nursing home fails to recognize the basic rights of its residents, then they can’t be trusted to continue caring for patients. Families deserve to have peace of mind that their loved ones are being cared for safely,” Grassley said.
In February, the New Jersey Department of Health suspended admissions at Woodland after finding significant allegations of abuse and neglect of nursing home residents at its facility. The allegations ranged from verbal abuse to failure to respond to residents in distress. The state also found that the facility failed to ensure staff took precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Sadly, this is not the first time Woodland has been exposed for egregious conduct at its facility. In 2020, police discovered 17 bodies in a makeshift morgue which later prompted a CMS investigation. CMS found numerous health and safety violations and ordered the facility to develop a corrective action plan.
Grassley’s push for additional federal oversight began after he previously called for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to open a Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) investigation into nursing homes in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Grassley’s March letter to CMS is available HERE.
For Release: Judith M. PersichilliCommissioner For Further Information Contact:Office of Communications(609) 984-7160 TRENTON – Over concerns about residents’ health and safety, Governor Phil Murphy, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, and Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman today announced that the State has filed an action in Superior Court seeking a court order to appoint a receiver at Woodland Behavioral and...
|For Release:|| |
Judith M. PersichilliCommissioner For Further Information Contact:Office of Communications(609) 984-7160
TRENTON – Over concerns about residents’ health and safety, Governor Phil Murphy, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, and Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman today announced that the State has filed an action in Superior Court seeking a court order to appoint a receiver at Woodland Behavioral and Nursing Center at Andover. If appointed, the receiver will assume control over the facility’s operations as appropriate next steps are taken to ensure the health and safety of residents in this nursing home.
In March 2022, the Department of Health selected Atlantic Health Systems to serve as a monitor at Woodland after citing the facility for significant health and safety violations. Despite guidance from the monitor and thorough oversight from the State and federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the facility’s operators have failed to address and maintain adequate staffing levels and a safe environment of care.
In light of these ongoing issues, the State has taken legal steps to seek appointment of a receiver to control the facility’s operations and finances. If the Court grants the receivership, the receiver will take actions to retain staff and maintain services for residents.
“Our state agencies have maintained careful oversight and partnered with a reputable health system to provide guidance toward addressing the issues plaguing this facility. Yet it has become crystal clear that the people running this nursing home refuse to take responsibility for the people in their care,” said Governor Murphy. “New Jersey will not tolerate long-term care facility operators who cannot provide the care our most vulnerable residents need and deserve. Our state agencies will employ the greatest authority we have to prevent these operators from continuing to place the residents of this nursing home in jeopardy, and will work towards ensuring a continuation of care on behalf of the more than 360 individuals in this home.”
"This is a step that the State does not take lightly and we ask the staff, the residents, their families, and other long-term care facilities in the State to work cooperatively with the Departments of Health and Human Services during this transitional period," said Health Commissioner Persichilli. "Ensuring the health, safety and well-being of the residents of Woodland Behavioral and Nursing Center is the Department's highest priority.”
“The Department of Human Services expects nursing facilities serving Medicaid residents to provide quality care that meets all state and federal standards. After significant intervention by CMS and the Department of Health, this provider has not been able to achieve or maintain systemic quality improvements, and this step to seek receivership is necessary,” said Human Services Commissioner Adelman. “Our Department and our Medicaid Care Managers will continue to work with Woodland residents and their families to provide support throughout this transition so that every individual served by this provider is receiving the quality care they deserve.”
The State is working closely with federal CMS partners, with the primary goal being to ensure the health, safety, and rights of residents. The Administration appreciates the dedication of the frontline workforce at Woodland, who remain essential during this anticipated transition. If the Court appoints the receiver, the State will work with the receiver to support the current staff in providing care to residents.
Since its appointment as monitor, Atlantic Health Systems has been conducting an onsite assessment of business practices, operations, and infrastructure. The New Jersey Departments of Health and Human Services, the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, and Medicaid Managed Care Organizations have also been on site to monitor quality of care, conduct psychiatric assessments, and offer counseling and support to residents regarding voluntary transfers to new facilities.
Going forward, the State will continue to closely monitor the situation and will hold meetings with staff, residents, families, and resident right’s advocates in the coming days to provide support and clear communication on the status of this situation.
“Conditions at Woodland remain poor for the residents who live there and for the dedicated direct care staff who work there,” said New Jersey Long-Term Care Ombudsman Laurie Brewer. “The people living at Woodland deserve capable, committed leadership from facility operators who value their autonomy, dignity and quality of life, yet current leadership has clearly failed to even marginally turn things around. I applaud the state for taking this necessary step.”
They live three to a room, in a space that is visibly dirty and smells like urine and feces. They have serious mental illnesses, developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injuries and are segregated from the rest of the nursing home.Woodland Behavioral and Nursing Center at Andover in Sussex County, now facing a widening investigation into all...
They live three to a room, in a space that is visibly dirty and smells like urine and feces. They have serious mental illnesses, developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injuries and are segregated from the rest of the nursing home.
Woodland Behavioral and Nursing Center at Andover in Sussex County, now facing a widening investigation into allegations of abuse and neglect, confines nearly 200 residents with mental illness and developmental disabilities on a locked floor that operates like an “unlicensed psychiatric hospital,” charged the leader of a federally funded legal group that advocates for the human, civil, and legal rights of those with disabilities.
After visiting the facility Wednesday, Gwen Orlowski, executive director for Disability Rights New Jersey said she immediately contacted the commissioners for the departments of Human Services and Health and urged them to go see it for themselves.
“They languish, prisoners of the 3rd floor without much hope that anyone cares, that they will ever leave and return to the community,” according to Orlowski’s email to Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman and Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “Without exception, all of the people I spoke to feel forsaken.”
The state must respond quickly to remedy an “inhumane” situation and what appears to be “a civil rights and human rights violation,” Orlowski told NJ Advance Media.
Menachem Spiegel, the administrator of Woodland, did not respond to requests for comment.
Orlowski said state Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman and Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli responded to her email immediately, and on Thursday morning, and they met to discuss Disability Rights’ concerns.
In a joint statement, Adelman and Persichilli said they “take all claims that may place residents in jeopardy very seriously” and spoke to Gwen Orlowski yesterday. Gwen was informed that Department of Health and Department of Human Services officials intend to visit the facility.
“The Commissioners are discussing this situation regularly and are working together to put the health and safety of the residents first,” the statement said.
The third floor is home to 196 people diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries, mental illness or developmental disabilities, or recovering from strokes, according to Orlowski. They live three to a room, in a space that is visibly dirty and smells like urine and feces. The floor is not locked, but no one can use the elevator to leave without permission, she said.
Orlowski said she spoke to one man who said he had not stepped outside Woodland for a year.
For Orlowski, who vividly recalls her grandmother’s extended stays in psychiatric facilities, the visit to Woodland’s third floor was searingly painful. “They really are the most vulnerable amongst us, and I worry no one cares about them,” she said.
Orlowski stressed hat the frontline staff appeared dedicated and were helpful. “The staff I saw working there today are working under extraordinary circumstances,” she said.
Taxpayers foot the bill for the roughly 450 people who live at Woodland. The Medicaid program, which is state and federally funded, pays $216 a day per resident from New Jersey, according to Human Services spokesman Tom Hester. About 70% of the residents are from New Jersey, with the remaining 30% coming from New York, which also pays $216 per resident per day.
Woodland calls itself as a “behavioral health facility,” Orlowski said, but it is not a licensed “behavioral health special care nursing home.” Woodland has a psychiatrist who dispenses medication, but that is the extent of any treatment, she said.
The facility does not have the authority to involuntarily commit residents — a decision that is made by a judge when a person is deemed dangerous to themselves or others, she added.
“You cannot be deprived of liberty without due process of law.,” Orlowski said. Liberty is freedom of movement, she said, to do something as basic as “to go out the front door and have a walk around the grounds.” The residents of the third floor are “essentially prisoners,” she said.
Disability Rights is investigating how many live there against their will and want to relocate to a group home or another supervised setting, she said.
For many years, New Jersey has lacked sufficient supervised housing for people with disabilities, she noted. Many become homeless and wind up in nursing homes, she said.
Orlowski said she has conveyed to the state her concerns that Woodland may be transferring out residents.
“That is of significant concern for us. We don’t want people traumatized by a quick move that won’t meet their needs,” Orlowski said. “It’s important to do independent assessments. The state absolutely understands that is critically important.”
“We want to make sure they are transferred to the right setting with the rights support,” she said.
Some should be moved out and receive supervised care in a group home, while others who choose to stay should have access to the kind of mental health treatment they need, she said.
Woodland’s future, meanwhile, may be in doubt.
Federal regulators have given the owners until March 3 to remedy a long list of deficiencies or risk losing all Medicaid and Medicare funding. The federal oversight agency, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said Woodland has amassed a list of violations that place residents in “immediate jeopardy,” which include a lack of monitoring of residents with COVID-19 symptoms and vaccination rates.
The latest inspection report does not identify the problems Orlowski reported to the state concerning the locked third floor.
“We have a broken system that funnels those people into nursing homes,” she said. “What COVID did was shine a light on how broken the long-term care system is.”
Local journalism needs your support. Subscribe at nj.com/supporter.
Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission.
NJ Transit’s board of directors approved a $32 million contract to rebuild a tunnel that will provide rail service to northwest Jersey and could pave the way for Amtrak trains to run to Scranton, Pennsylvania.The board approved it in a 9 to 1 vote Wednesday, with board member James D. Adams voting no because he had reservations whether the project was the best use of...
NJ Transit’s board of directors approved a $32 million contract to rebuild a tunnel that will provide rail service to northwest Jersey and could pave the way for Amtrak trains to run to Scranton, Pennsylvania.
The board approved it in a 9 to 1 vote Wednesday, with board member James D. Adams voting no because he had reservations whether the project was the best use of funds.
“Is it the highest, best use of capital funds at this time?” Adams said, noting many other projects are currently unfunded. “I can’t support this project.”
The tunnel, the Roseville Tunnel in Byram, is part of the larger $62 million Lackawanna Cutoff project to extend the Morris & Essex rail line to Andover.
“We are talking about the need to provide mobility and you have to start somewhere,” said Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, transportation commissioner and board chairperson. “Today they don’t have mobility in that region.”
Prior to the vote, north New Jersey officials, including State Sen. Steven Oroho, R-Sussex, urged passage of the contract, saying it would serve an area with no mass transit.
“It has garnered widespread support for many years,” Oroho said, citing “thousands upon thousand of commuters from western New Jersey and Pennsylvania” who’s only option is to drive congested I-80.”
Oroho, and Democratic U.S. Reps. Josh Gottheimer, Mikie Sherrill and Tom Malinowski, sent a letter to NJ Transit about the importance of the project to the region and state as a whole.
“The northwestern area of New Jersey has a dearth of mass transit opportunities and the introduction of passenger rail service will give commuters a healthy option,” Oroho said in a statement after the vote. “The rail line will also be a welcome addition for the regional economy. Northwest New Jersey is certainly a four season tourist destination and more mass transportation is an added enticement.”
Andover Mayor Thomas Walsh said the township believed enough in the project to invest money in it to buy key property needed for it. “Without the support of this small township, this project would be dead in the water,” he said.
Work to be done by contractor Schiavone Construction Co. LLC includes stabilizing rock slopes, constructing 8,000 feet of track bed, improving drainage building lighting and communication in the tunnel, and replacement of two culverts - the Hudson Farm culvert and Junction Brook culvert.
The overall Lackawanna Cutoff project would restore passenger rail service on the east end of the cutoff, between Port Morris and Andover, build a new rail station in Andover and replacing approximately seven miles of track. It’s expected to be completed in late 2026.
“Right now, there are zero options for folks in Sussex County to make their life easier and get on a train to get to work, or to see a family member,” Gottheimer said. “I’ve heard from so many residents, businesses, and local elected officials about this issue, and of the urgent need for more transportation options to New York City from across Sussex. The Lackawanna Cut-off railway is a key part of the solution.”
The cutoff project also makes a larger project to bring Amtrak to Northwestern New Jersey and Scranton Pa., possible. The Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority, which owns the tracks in that state, has contracted with Amtrak to estimate the cost, he said.
Amtrak proposed the Scranton service as part of a larger national “Amtrak Connects US” expansion plan, which is funded in the Biden Administration’s $1 trillion infrastructure law.
The Amtrak line would have 10 potential station stops along A proposed 136-mile-long route, four in Pennsylvania, (Scranton, Tobyhanna, Mount Pocono and East Stroudsburg), five in New Jersey, (Blairstown, Dover, Morristown, Summit and Newark Broad Street) and New York Penn Station.
Thank you for relying on us to provide the journalism you can trust. Please consider supporting NJ.com with a subscription.
ANDOVER TOWNSHIP — The oft-postponed BHT Properties Group application for Stickles Pond Road, prolonged for more than 18 months by COVID-19 restrictions and a change in the scope of site plans, is set to resume Tuesday night.In anticipation of high attendance numbers, the Andover Township Land Use Board meeting has been relocated to the Hillside Park barn. Set to begin at 7:30 p.m., the meeting is expected to bring in witnesses for the application that calls for storage of construction vehicles, equipment and othe...
ANDOVER TOWNSHIP — The oft-postponed BHT Properties Group application for Stickles Pond Road, prolonged for more than 18 months by COVID-19 restrictions and a change in the scope of site plans, is set to resume Tuesday night.
In anticipation of high attendance numbers, the Andover Township Land Use Board meeting has been relocated to the Hillside Park barn. Set to begin at 7:30 p.m., the meeting is expected to bring in witnesses for the application that calls for storage of construction vehicles, equipment and other materials on the 100-acre property.
The application has met resistance and opposition from the start as residents voiced concern with potential environmental problems and increased traffic. Some concerns have been about contamination of the nearby Pequest River, aesthetics and the wildlife that will be displaced from the property.
"It's going to look like a penitentiary," said Eileen Ibranyi, whose home sits directly across from the proposed BHT site.
"It's residential. It's not commercial in this area," said Ellen Metzgar, another member of the neighborhood. "A clean venue would be welcome."
Roger Thomas, the attorney representing BHT, said the residents' concerns were more applicable to the original BHT application, which consisted of a partnership with online vehicle auction company Copart to develop a storage property for used vehicles before they are sold. That project was set to be heard in March 2020 before it was put on hold due to COVID.
The hearing was subsequently postponed for several months as the applicant hoped for an in-person meeting to present the application. In the meantime, residents concerned about the proposed project formed the "Stop BHT Junkyard Andover Township" group and hired an attorney to represent them in the hearings.
Thomas said the new application, introduced in March and which Township Engineer Cory Stoner deemed complete in May, is "less intrusive" than the initial one. He said BHT is aware of the various wetlands and buffer areas on the property, and is "respecting those fully and completely."
Last month, the hearing did not take place as scheduled due to a delay in BHT presenting completed plans to the board. It marked the third time in four months since in-person meetings resumed that a scheduled hearing was postponed.
Some residents said it feels like the postponements are part of a calculated move by BHT to make community members lose interest in the application.
The September 2020 meeting — the only in-person hearing for the original application — filled most, if not all, of the seats at the barn. The following month, the crowd was so large the meeting had to be postponed because the turnout exceeded the capacity under COVID restrictions.
In the year since, neighbors said many residents who rallied against the proposal at the beginning have become less invested, not bothering to attend meetings under the assumption that the hearing will again be postponed.
"Because of the fact that BHT continues to receive these adjournments or delays or postponements, whatever you call them, this has been really enough already," Metzgar said. "We can take into consideration maybe a couple of months because of COVID, but now that has run its course."
Sussex County Election 2021 guide:Here are this year's contested races
What's new this Election Day:Here's everything you need to know about voting in Sussex County
Thomas, however, said he and BHT officials were "ready to proceed" with the hearing in May. While he took responsibility for the August postponement due to a lack of witnesses, he noted that it was the board that decided not to continue with the hearing in July and to postpone last month's meeting in order to receive some additional site plan materials.
"My client would be much happier if we had a determination in the fall," Thomas said. "We're not going to get that, and that's too bad."
Residents are also skeptical of the motivation behind the new plan. They are convinced that BHT only scaled back the project to get Land Use Board approval and will eventually revert to the original site plans.
"It's a backdoor tactic, a ruse to get in there," said Ray Wexler, a member of the Andover Township Environmental Commission who said he was speaking as a private citizen. "Once they own the property, then it's pretty much they're going to do whatever they want."
Thomas said that is not so, though he understood residents' concerns based on his experience as a board attorney.
He noted that the Land Use Board representatives would likely draft a resolution that specifically outlines how BHT is allowed to operate at the site. He said company officials "have no intention" to expand, and even if they did, they would not be authorized to do so without going through the board approval process again.
"The idea is legally impossible for us to be able to (expand)," Thomas said.
Thomas has been involved in the second application only, and said the initial partnership with Copart dissolved because of the public opposition. He said BHT, in both applications, has tried to avoid being labeled "bad neighbors."
Some residents still do not want the company to be neighbors at all.
"I understand the Land Use Board, they have to hear (the application), they have to be at least somewhat concerned about the town getting sued," Wexler said. "But at the same time, they have a job to do as far as protecting the town. Whether it's Copart or whatever it is now, it's the wrong project for this area."
Woodland Behavioral Health and Nursing Center at Andover, still under threat of losing its state license as well as the federal funding it needs to keep running, has been named as one of the worst nursing homes in New Jerse...
Woodland Behavioral Health and Nursing Center at Andover, still under threat of losing its state license as well as the federal funding it needs to keep running, has been named as one of the worst nursing homes in New Jersey.
Administrators at the nursing home in Sussex County have said little about the ongoing crisis at one of the largest long-term care facilities in the state. But data collected by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services shows many of the problems of Woodland Behavioral stem from a lack of enough people to care for its more than 450 residents.
By any measure, Woodland is continually short on staff. In its most recent assessment, the facility was at the bottom ranking in its staffing rating by CMS, receiving just one star, or “much below average,” on a five-star scale.
And according to federal data, this was how those staffing issues have played out:
Registered Nurses, or RNs, are responsible for the overall delivery of care to residents. According to CMS, nursing homes must have at least one RN for at least 8 straight hours a day, 7 days a week, and either an RN or LPN on duty 24 hours per day.
Woodland has a population that includes a large memory care unit as well as many residents psychiatric and behavioral health issues.
Federal regulators note that nursing home residents who are sicker than others may require a greater level of care, and add that nursing homes with more RNs on staff may be better able to meet the needs of those residents.
The time spent with nursing home residents by Licensed Practical Nurses, who work under the supervision of an RN, was almost half that of other long-term care facilities in the state.
Certified Nurse Aides, or CNAs, are the frontline troops of any nursing home. They are there to feed residents. To talk to them. To help them get up and get them involved in activities. And to help bathe and clean them.
In fact, state surveyors reported inadequate staffing on all 14 day shifts during one two-week period in late December into January.
During that time, Woodland was mandated to have at least 58 CNAs for the more than 450 residents on the day shift, surveyors said. On some days, the nursing home had less than half that number, which meant they would be getting assigned to twice as many people as they should have been.
The hours-per-resident per day represented averages reported over the last three-month quarter. Individual residents, though, might experience different staffing levels on any given day, federal regulators said.
CMS noted that higher staffing levels and lower staffing turnover in a nursing home may mean higher quality of care for residents. And care at Woodland has been the focus of a series of recent critical reports.
Last month, the state in a scathing notice of violations found that the nursing home had “failed to appropriately prevent abuse and neglect” of its residents.
Surveyors for the Health Department cited failures to attempt resuscitation of several residents in cardiac arrest, including one 55-year-old individual found without a pulse or respirations on New Year’s Day last month. No calls were calls made to 911, nor did anyone perform CPR. The resident was ultimately pronounced dead.
A CNA reportedly left a resident soiled in feces for ten hours overnight. The unnamed resident, who already had a pressure ulcer or bedsore that would have been exacerbated by moisture and susceptible to infection, asked the staffing coordinator for a different caregiver, saying the aide made the unnamed individual “furious” and “scared.” The coordinator never reported the matter to administrators, or the Department of Health, and the aide was never suspended.
The New Jersey State Comptroller in its own report in February identified Woodland as one the state’s 15 worst nursing homes, based on the facility’s years of “one-star” ratings by federal regulators that the watchdog agency said had led to few, if any, serious consequences.
Overall, New Jersey in fact does not rate high for adequate staffing in its nursing homes.
Families for Better Care, a non-profit advocacy organization, said the state has climbed significantly in nursing home quality measures, bringing it among the top 10 states in the country. But despite its improved grade, New Jersey nursing homes “continue to be woefully understaffed,” said the Texas-based group, ranking No. 45 overall nationwide in the amount of direct care service hours provided per resident, according to its own analysis.
State Department of Health officials said Woodland is recruiting and hiring personnel to bring their staffing ratios in line with its resident census.
New Jersey on Wednesday appointed Atlantic Health System to serve as a state monitor to oversee Woodland’s operations
“Atlantic Health will convene a multi-disciplinary team to conduct an onsite assessment of business practices, operations, and infrastructure, and will remain onsite for up to 90 days. Weekly reports will be provided to the department throughout the monitoring period,” said health officials.
They noted that Newton Medical Center, which is part of Atlantic Health System’s western region, is located less than 5 miles from Woodland, and has “long provided inpatient and ambulatory care” for the residents of the facility.
Federal regulators say financial penalties will also come.
Last week, meanwhile, CMS backed off on an immediate threat to cut off Woodland from all funding. Still, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said the nursing home remains in violation of federal requirements and has until August 15 to make major changes or face the termination of all Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.
Woodland is facing a civil monetary penalty as well, in addition to a possible $11,292 fine for violations related to its nurse aide training program.
The nursing home, once known as the Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center, was hit with $220,235 in fines and penalties in May 2020 over failures in infection control practices and other violations. That enforcement action came after the discovery of the bodies of 17 residents, some being kept in a makeshift morgue at the height of the pandemic.
After it became the focus of national attention, Andover Subacute changed its name to Woodland Behavioral and Nursing Center at Andover (and an adjacent, sister facility was renamed Limecrest Subacute and Rehabilitation Center). However, it has remained under the same ownership.
Those owners include Chaim “Mutty” Scheinbaum of Lakewood and Louis Schwartz, the eldest son of Joseph Schwartz who was charged last month in a multi-million dollar federal tax fraud scheme in connection with Skyline Healthcare, his failed multi-state nursing home chain that had once sought to purchase the long-term care facility.
A ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee is urging federal agencies to look into "egregious conditions" at the Woodland Behavioral and Nursing Center in Andover.Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, calling for an investigation into possible violations of the Civil Right...
A ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee is urging federal agencies to look into "egregious conditions" at the Woodland Behavioral and Nursing Center in Andover.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, calling for an investigation into possible violations of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act. Grassley is also calling for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to do its own review.
Admissions to Woodland were suspended in February by the New Jersey Department of Health after allegations of abuse and neglect of the residents were reported. The allegations include verbal abuse, failing to help residents in distress and not taking precautions during the pandemic.
"New Jersey surveyors also found Woodland failed to monitor for signs of COVID-19 among their residents, which could be why cases increased by 102 in the span of just one week between Dec. 23, 2021, and Jan. 1, 2022," Grassley wrote in the letter.
Woodland has been in the news since the pandemic began. In the spring of 2020, 17 bodies were found there in a makeshift morgue, which prompted an investigation by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The investigation revealed a number of health and safety violations, and a corrective action plan was ordered. In February, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services threatened to terminate Woodland from participation in Medicare and Medicaid. The facility has until August to be in compliance with the federal requirements, officials said.
Grassley urged the Department of Justice to expand its investigations of New Jersey's nursing home facilities to include Woodland. There is already a federal investigation into the Veterans Memorial Home at Menlo Park and the Veterans Memorial Home at Paramus, facilities that saw a high number of deaths during the height of the pandemic.
The Department of Justice previously declined to open a CRIPA investigation into nursing home deaths in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Kaitlyn Kanzler covers Essex County for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
ANDOVER — The same Sussex County nursing home caught piling bodies in a makeshift morgue early in the COVID-19 pandemic has the largest, active COVID outbreak among long-term care facilities statewide, nearly two years later.Woodland Behavioral and Nursing Center was reporting 213 residents with confirmed cases as well as 114 staff cases and three confirmed deaths among residents, as of Fri...
ANDOVER — The same Sussex County nursing home caught piling bodies in a makeshift morgue early in the COVID-19 pandemic has the largest, active COVID outbreak among long-term care facilities statewide, nearly two years later.
Woodland Behavioral and Nursing Center was reporting 213 residents with confirmed cases as well as 114 staff cases and three confirmed deaths among residents, as of Friday.
The three COVID deaths reported at Woodland had happened over the past five months and were in individuals that had underlying conditions, state health officials confirmed in response to New Jersey 101.5 on Sunday.
State health officials also confirmed Sunday that a New Jersey National Guard team would be reporting to Woodland Nursing Center within the next week, among the National Guard troops headed to more than a dozen facilities statewide to help current staff in caring for residents amid continued pandemic staffing shortages.
As of Sunday, COVID vaccination rates for Woodland Nursing Center (former Andover Subacute) were 84% of residents vaccinated and 44% of residents boosted — similar to the statewide booster rate of 44.4%, state officials said in the same written response.
While 83% of the Woodland LTC staff had received full initial doses of COVID vaccine, just 11% staff had received boosters.
“After the 2020 crisis, they were supposed to take corrective steps. I’m asking for an update, to protect residents,” U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer said, in sharing a letter sent Thursday to the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary.
In the letter, the Congressman quoted data from before Friday’s update. In sharing it to Twitter on Sunday, he appeared to refer to the 11% of Woodland staff who had so far received boosters.
The state Health Department’s Office of Long-Term Care Resiliency also was providing support and resources and the Department’s Communicable Disease Service and the Local Health Department were providing guidance as part of regular communication with the facility, a spokesperson added on Sunday to New Jersey 101.5.
Sometime after the April 2020 grim discovery of 17 bodies piled up in a morgue intended to hold no more than five, Andover was split and renamed the Limecrest Subacute and Rehabilitation Center and Woodland Behavioral and Nursing Center.
Limecrest Subacute and Rehabilitation Center also had reported 15 resident cases and 15 staff cases, as of Friday.
The Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation II facility (now Woodland) had failed to follow proper infection control and its non-compliance "has caused, or was likely to cause, serious injury, harm impairment or death to residents,” according to a Spring 2020 report issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Federal officials then issued a quarter-million dollars in fines stemming from the unsafe conditions at the two sites, still under the same ownership and management.
As of January, it has remained unclear whether those fines had been paid, as reported by NJ Herald.
Louis Schwartz took half ownership of the facility in Sussex County, alongside Chaim Scheinbaum, back in May 2017, according to Medicare records, as Schwartz’s father dealt with financial upheaval that has since led to fraud charges.
There were 5,747 COVID patients hospitalized statewide as of Saturday night, including 833 patients in intensive care and 460 people on ventilators, with 70 out of 71 hospitals statewide reporting data.
As of Sunday, there were 26,615 new confirmed cases and 2,813 likely cases, based on test results, as well as 12 new lab-confirmed deaths linked to COVID.
On Saturday, the state reported 29,564 new confirmed cases and 5,253 likely cases based on test results, as well as 72 new lab-confirmed deaths linked to COVID.