Legislators want permanent changes at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home after deadly virus outbreak

Hampden County

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

This is the second thorough investigation into the COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home but this report lays out 14 key findings and recommendations to prevent future outbreaks.

Earlier this week members of the oversight committee released a 150-page report about the conditions at the Home that led to the deadly outbreak. Lawmakers found that the Baker administration was aware of some of the management issues at the home well before the pandemic even started.

To make sure an incident like this never happens again the committee is recommending a mandate that would require the home’s next superintendent to be a licensed nursing home administrator.

“Now that we have the report there are a series of recommendations, they are a starting point for a more detailed discussion,” Rep. Joseph Wagner told 22News.

Lawmakers want to see the soldier’s homes in both Chelsea and Holyoke fall under the same line of supervision which would mean the creation of a new position with direct access to both facilities and to the governor himself.

Now, Gov. Baker has been pushing for many of these changes as well he filed a bill last year that didn’t make it over the finish line in time. Lawmakers are hoping that he will re-file his bill so that the process to approve these changes will be a collaborative one.

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