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June 26, 2020

Pressley, Warren, Markey Request Independent Investigation Into the Outbreak of COVID-19 at Chelsea Soldiers’ Home

Text of Letter (PDF)

WASHINGTONCongresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-07) and United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) today wrote to Governor Charlie Baker requesting an independent investigation into the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic at Chelsea Soldiers’ Home (CSH). 

This letter comes after disturbing reports of the deaths of veteran residents at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home (HSH) and Chelsea Soldiers’ Home. To date, 31 veteran residents of CSH have died from COVID-19. In April, Governor Baker called for an independent investigation examining the COVID-19 response  at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, where 76 veterans have died from the disease, and the findings of the investigation by attorney Mark W. Pearlstein were released earlier this week.  

“Given that 31 veteran residents of the Home have died from COVID-19 and an independent investigation of the outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home (HSH) produced useful findings and recommendations, we believe a similar, independent and thorough inquiry at CSH would help save veterans’ lives, prevent further infections, and ensure a healthier and safer care environment for both residents and staff,” the lawmakers wrote.

“Veteran residents of the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home – like all veterans in long-term care facilities – deserve a standard of care that honors and dignifies their service and sacrifices,” the lawmakers wrote. “Like the families of veterans who died or became infected from COVID-19 at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, the families of Chelsea Soldiers’ Home veterans who have suffered from this disease deserve meaningful, lasting accountability and reforms. An independent inquiry can help facilitate such results.”

In April, Congresswoman Pressley and Senator Warren, along with the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation, sent a letter to the Director of the Veterans Affairs (VA) New England Health Care System, expressing concern about the disturbing reports of the deaths of veteran residents at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home and the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home.