New leadership at Soldiers’ Homes
Holyoke still doesn’t have superintendent yet
STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS have appointed new senior leadership at the Chelsea and Holyoke Soldiers’ Homes, but there is still no permanent superintendent to run the Holyoke home.
Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Superintendent Bennett Walsh was fired after a massive COVID-19 outbreak at the home, and virtually the entire leadership team at the home turned over, either because they resigned or were forced out. Secretary of Veterans’ Services Francisco Urena was forced to resign the day a scathing report by independent investigator Mark Pearlstein was released finding significant mismanagement at the home that contributed to the outbreak.
In October, Gov. Charlie Baker appointed Cheryl Lussier Poppe – who had been the superintendent at the Chelsea home – as Secretary of Veterans’ Services, replacing Urena. Eric Sheehan temporarily replaced her as acting superintendent in Chelsea.
On Thursday, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services announced that Sheehan had been promoted to become Assistant Secretary for Veterans’ Homes, a position in which he will oversee both state veterans’ homes. Sheehan is a Marine Corps veteran who previously worked as a bureau director for the Department of Public Health and in senior managerial positions at the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
Glen Hevy, a retired Army infantry officer, was hired as deputy superintendent at the Holyoke Solders’ Home. Hevy previously worked as a senior operations official for patient care services at the Bedford VA Medical Center.
The superintendent is hired by the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Board of Trustees, and the board has not yet made a selection. For now, acting superintendent Val Liptak, the CEO of Western Massachusetts Hospital, is continuing to hold the top spot. But MassLive reported that she was slated to return to her hospital position in December and another interim superintendent would have to be hired.In November, the board agreed to hire a talent acquisition firm to search for a new superintendent.
The Pearlstein report says the next superintendent should be a licensed nursing home administrator, which Walsh was not. Reforms recommended by Baker say preference should be given to someone with a nursing home administrator’s license, but it is not required. It will be up to the board whether to hire someone with a nursing home administration license.