BOSTON (WWLP) – The state legislature’s Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs held a virtual hearing Wednesday on issues surrounding Soldiers’ Home Reform.
A call for multiple reforms at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke and the Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea were made after the facilities suffered large numbers of COVID-19 infections and deaths in the early days of the pandemic during spring 2020. Both written and oral testimony was offered on multiple topics including communication, infrastructure, staff and labor issues, resident and family concerns, and the creation of best practices.
Members of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Coalition voiced their concerns at the hearing. Official testimony was delivered by Coalition member John Paradis and Paul Barabani, former superintendent of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, and also a Coalition member.
Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Coalition is advocating for the following reforms: placement of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke and the Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea under the Department of Public Health; overhaul the Board of Trustees with appointments from and by the Veteran community (to include a family member); and put medical experts in charge of the day-to-day operation of the two homes and staff both adequately.