Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today released an audit which identified safety and sanitation issues throughout living, eating, and medical facilities, as well as operational issues with equipment at the Soldiers Home in Massachusetts-Chelsea (SHC). A recent follow-up inspection by the Auditor and her audit staff found that the identified deficiencies had been remedied, but also noted that obvious structural deterioration of the buildings on the campus pose a continuing challenge.\n\n\u201cMassachusetts has a proud history of service to our veterans. The audit findings and the overall conditions at the campus jeopardize our right to brag about our current level of respect and dedication,\u201d Bump said. \u201cWe found \u00a0serious health and safety issues arising from under-staffing exacerbated by the early retirement of experienced staff, insufficient inspections of residents\u2019 rooms, an absence of procedures for identifying and correcting problems, and inadequate resources for the upkeep of an aged physical plant.\u201d\n\nThe audit found SHC was not providing residents with safe and sanitary living conditions.\nAuditors found scattered trash and debris, overloaded electrical outlets, loose and cracked plaster, and evidence of pest and human waste. It additionally noted circumstances by which pollutants from leaking sewer and water lines could contaminate food. These deficient conditions were found in resident rooms, common areas, medical facilities, and the kitchen.\n\nThe audit also found that heating and hot-water systems had not received required inspections, and that a kitchen fire extinguisher was empty and inoperable.\n\nAdditionally, the audit found that SHC\u2019s protocols for conducting room inspections were deficient.\n\n\u201cThe SHC leadership was quick to fix the problems we identified,\u201d Bump said. \u201cHowever, this was not the first time these kinds of problems were found at the Home. They also told us about the several long-range planning studies now underway to address the future needs of veterans. That is well and good, but those facilities need considerable remediation urgently to keep the buildings safe and healthy and to respect the dignity of the veterans who reside there. I hope that executive and legislative branch leadership will use this audit to guide their efforts to develop long-term improvements to the Soldiers\u2019 Home, as well as prompting more immediate action to improve the conditions for those living there today.\u0022\n\nBump also announced that her office has begun audits of the Soldiers Home in Holyoke and the Department of Veterans Services.\nSHC was established in 1882 and is one of the oldest and largest veterans\u2019 homes in the country. SHC\u2019s mission is to provide healthcare, housing, and human services to eligible Massachusetts veterans. It operates a 174-bed long-term-care facility, as well as a 305-bed Domiciliary Unit. It operates within the Department of Veterans\u2019 Services, which is a part of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.\n\nThe Chelsea Soldiers\u0027 Home audit is available here.