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U.S. Attorney’s Office launches federal probe into veteran deaths at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home

This May 2018 file photo shows an aerial view of the Holyoke Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, Mass. The superintendent of the veteran's home was removed from his duties Monday, March 30, 2020 after several residents died, including some who had tested positive for COVID-19 and others whose results are pending. (Patrick Johnson / The Republican/TNS)

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has opened a federal investigation into conditions at the Holyoke Soliders’ Home to determine if the recent deaths of several residents due to the new coronavirus were the result of staff failing to provide adequate care.

The office of U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew E. Lelling said the investigation will involve prosecutors from his office and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. It will look at whether the facility violated the civil rights of residents by failing to provide adequate medical care in general and during the coronavirus pandemic.

It is the third investigation of the Holyoke facility, where 28 residents who have died tested positive for COVID-19.

Gov. Charlie Baker appointed an independent investigator to look into the home after the first wave of deaths were reported. This week, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced her own investigation.

“It would be difficult to overstate our obligation to the health and well-being of elderly and disabled military veterans and, by extension, to their families. The federal Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act specifically protects the rights of those confined in state facilities like the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home,” Lelling said. “We will aggressively investigate recent events at the Home and, as needed, require the Commonwealth to adopt reforms to ensure patient safety in the future.”

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© 2020 MassLive.com