In full transparency, the following press release was submitted to SOURCE media.
BOSTON – A final report from the Veterans’ Homes Conference Committee was filed yesterday, July 27 with the House and Senate Clerks. With the report, a Senate Working Group chaired by Senator John Velis was also created to oversee implementation of the bill and act on areas that may require additional legislation.
Among other pieces, the final legislation:
Elevates the Department of Veterans Services to a cabinet-level executive office with direct reporting to the Governor and the ability to hire and fire superintendents
Requires Superintendent to have nursing home administrator license, and clarifies that Superintendent oversees day-to-day management and operation of Home
Requires two annual home inspections by Department of Health
Creates independent Office of the Veteran Advocate
Maintains local Board of Trustees and creates statewide advisory “Veterans’ Home Council”
“I’m proud that the veterans’ homes conference committee has reached agreement on important governance reform to the veterans’ homes in Massachusetts. The Senate has been clear that we must rethink how we deliver care to Veterans of every generation across Massachusetts and ensure that
our Veterans are connected to their communities,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka. “We are mindful that issues and circumstances may arise that compel additional thought, reassessment, and legislative action and that work will continue. To that end, I am creating a Senate working group, chaired by Senator John Velis, to review implementation of this important bill, identify and act on issues that may arise requiring additional legislation, and work with the Administration to ensure the reforms contained within are implemented as the Legislature intended.”
“This legislation contains important improvements that will benefit the men and women who have served our nation and will reside at our Commonwealth’s Veterans’ Homes for the years to come. At the same time, we know that this work must continue,” said Senator Velis. “The working group established will allows us to have oversight over this implementation, to identify what we need to improve on further, and to continue to work to ensure that the tragedy that took place at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home never happens again.”