HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) -A bill before the state legislature right now would change the way the soldier’s homes in Chelsea and Holyoke are managed.
22News spoke to members of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Coalition today and they believe this bill will give state leaders too much authority when it comes to the homes management.
COVID-19 took the lives of at least 77 veterans inside the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home. To make sure that never happens again, dozens of reforms have been filed, including a bill before the House and Senate right now. The legislation aims to change the chain of command at both veteran’s facilities, but Coalition members don’t think that’s a smart move.
“It puts the care of our veterans under a convoluted and cumbersome chain of command and under a system that quite frankly is not demonstrated the capacity to run a medical facility,” said John Paradis of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Coalition
Lawmakers believe this bill will make establish a clear reporting structure for any incidents that may occur in the future at the state run veteran facilities, but coalition members believe it will just create more confusion. They want the board of trustees to have more of a say when it comes to who will be overseeing each facility.
Now this bill still has to pass the senate before it’s sent to a conference committee where the bill’s language will be finalized. 22News will continue to follow this bill and provide you with updates as soon as they are available.