Lawmakers want answers from Baker admin on pre-COVID issues at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home

Hampden County

BOSTON (WWLP) – A report from the state legislature calls for major changes to the way the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home is run.

The oversight committee released its report earlier this week and it did not reflect positively on the Baker Administration’s handling of the outbreak, that’s why they want to make permanent changes so that an incident like this never happens again.

It’s been more than a year since COVID-19 took the lives of at least 77 veterans at the Holyoke Soldiers Home.

Governor Charlie Baker chose to hire former U.S. Attorney Mark Pearlstein to look into the outbreak & Perlstine released his report back in June of 2020. While that investigation was going on, lawmakers on Beacon Hill began to search for answers on their own.

Members of the oversight committee spoke to residents and workers at the facility and they even brought in Governor Baker and HHS Secretary Marylou Sudders to testify on the matter.

In the Committee report released earlier this week, lawmakers said that Baker and Sudders should have known about the management issues at the Home especially since they dated back well before the pandemic even started.

“Statutorily the Governor has control over all things including the appointment and removal of board members,” Rep. Joseph Wagner said.

Lawmakers found that the management structure at the home created a perfect storm for the COVID-19 outbreak to become a tragedy.

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