Three Massachusetts lawmakers are calling for an independent investigation into the deadly outbreak of COVID-19 at the Chelsea Soldiers' Home.
U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and Rep. Ayanna Pressley sent a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker Friday requesting the independent investigation into the outbreak of the new coronavirus at the Chelsea facility.
At least 31 veteran residents with the coronavirus at the home have died and at least 40 who were infected were sent to other facilities for treatment.
In the letter, the lawmakers want to know whether the numbers are accurate and what could be done in the future to prevent such an outbreak.
Their request comes a day after Baker announced a series of reforms and legislative proposals after a scathing report detailed over the coronavirus outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home where 76 veterans died and 84 were infected.
"Given that 31 veteran residents of the Home (in Chelsea) 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."
The independent investigation into the outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home released Wednesday said its leadership team made "substantial errors" in their response.
As a result of the report, the Baker administration is recommending several reforms.
One of those reforms calls for legislation making the appointing authority for the superintendents of both the Holyoke and Chelsea soldiers' homes the secretary of health and human services, with final approval coming from the governor.