BOSTON (WWLP) – Lawmakers on Beacon Hill are reacting to the major settlement announcement at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Thursday.
The deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home that killed more than 76 veterans shined a light on how mismanaged the facility was. On Thursday, the state came to an agreement with veterans and their families.
The Governor’s office has agreed to a $56 million payout that will be divided between Veterans and estates of veterans who had COVID-19 and survived, and estates of veterans who died from COVID-19 up to June 23, 2020. Estates of veterans who died will receive a minimum of $400,000 and veterans who survived COVID-19 will receive at least $10,000. The settlement will also pay for attorney fees.
Included in the lawsuit is Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders and former Superintendent Bennet Walsh, who was appointed by Governor Baker.
Westfield State Senator John Velis was a member of the Special Joint Oversight Committee on the Soldiers’ Home outbreak. He told 22News, “From my perspective, it’s ensuring that something like this never ever happens again, you know. Unlike any number of other things that happened with COVID-19, the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home has the state flag of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on it.”
“An even more important element of this in some respect, is an accounting of what happened, and an apology on the part of state leaders that did not oversee that home properly,” said Longmeadow State Senator Eric Lesser.
At the end of April, the office of the Inspector General released a scathing report targeting leadership, management and oversight at the home.