A federal agency that serves as the primary source of funding for Troubled Veterans Homes in New Jersey began withholding payments at the Menlo Park facility this week after Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration failed to address major infection control issues, officials confirmed late Wednesday.

The move effectively stopped the nursing home from accepting new residents at the facility, which families across New Jersey depend on to care for their ailing loved ones, many of whom served in the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Maj. Omeila Thatcher, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, confirmed that new admissions are “temporarily suspended.”

In a statement to NorthJersey.com, a spokesperson for American Medical and Emergency Medical Services said the problems that “significantly impacted the safety of residents” documented in a scathing inspection report over the summer still had not been corrected to the agency’s satisfaction.

“Refusals in payment of all new admissions have begun [Tuesday] because the ongoing quality issues have not been addressed,” said Bruce Alexander, CMS’ director of communications.

Thatcher said Wednesday that a plan to fix the problems had been sent to the state Department of Health, but did not elaborate.

On the same day, payments for admission ended Murphy announced that a “critical team” had been dispatched. to the Menlo Park facility, even though the problems had been known for months since an unusually long inspection over the summer.

During an eight-day visit to the 328-bed facility in August and September, inspectors found that administrators, staff and contractors put its residents at “imminent risk” of both life-threatening illness and potential abuse even after the home had already been vacated. had one of the highest death tolls from COVID in the country.

The inspection came out this month says the administration failed to implement infection control practices — including testing, contact tracing and staff training — to prevent the spread of COVID.

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The home had an outbreak of COVID that started last November and continued for months. During that time, 17 residents have died from COVID at the Menlo Park home, and 76 residents and 225 staff have been infected, according to a list of current COVID outbreaks.

The report also describes some troubling interactions between residents, staff and contractors, including a nurse who didn’t know how to remove a urinary catheter from a resident who later had to be treated for an infection at the hospital.

Menlo Park and its sister facility in Paramus drew national attention two years ago when more than 200 residents died in the midst of the pandemic. Murphy and several lawmakers called for reforms, including new laws to help nursing home residents, but those efforts seemed to do little in Menlo Park.

The Murphy administration has already agreed to provide $69 million to settle 190 claims by victims’ families. Several employees who say they were unnecessarily put at risk during the height of the pandemic have sued the administration.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars branch blamed Murphy for the latest revelations, saying the administration “continues to treat our veterans as second-class citizens.”

Murphy said in a statement Tuesday that despite the two-year-old reforms, “it’s clear our work is not done.”

Orienting new admissions is just CMS’ first step if Menlo Park continues to have problems. The agency said it will end all federal funds on March 8, effectively closing the home where generations of service members and their spouses have spent their final days.

Two members of the three-man “critical team” were on site on Tuesday, with a third due to arrive next week. They include an administrator, a nurse and an infection prevention specialist. They must stay at the Menlo Park home for at least a month.

Inspectors have already begun re-inspecting the home to see if the deficiencies have been corrected. “This review and evaluation began recently and is ongoing,” Alexander said. “Further information on these efforts is not yet available.”

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