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Gov. Baker Announces Reforms At Holyoke Soldiers' Home Following COVID Outbreak

Holyoke Soldiers' Home
Holyoke Soldiers' Home

A day after a scathing report faulted the facility’s management and the state Department of Veterans Services for its handling of a COVID-19 outbreak, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on Thursday announced reforms at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.

“As this report reveals, errors were made at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home before COVID-19, more errors were made in preparation for COVID-19 and still more errors were made during the Home’s initial clinical response to the pandemic in March,” Baker said during a press conference Thursday.

Baker says some of the reforms are based on the independent report’s recommendations. The reforms include capital improvements, more state control over who is selected as the facility’s superintendent and more direct oversight from the Department of Veterans Services.

76 residents at the home for military veterans have died of COVID-19.

The Home’s superintendent has been suspended and the state’s Secretary of Veterans Services resigned this week.

An attorney for suspended Superintendent Bennett Walsh said in a statement Wednesday said they dispute many of the investigation’s findings and are “disappointed that the report contains many baseless accusations." 

The Massachusetts attorney general and the U.S. Justice Department are also investigating the handling of the outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home. 

Jim is WAMC’s Associate News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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