As more and more people learn about the ballot question to impose government-mandated RN-to-patient ratios on all Massachusetts hospitals, opposition to Question 1 on the November ballot grows.
Last week The Western Massachusetts Nursing Collaborative joined the Coalition to Protect Patient Safety
in opposition to the nurse staffing ballot question.
“As nurses, we rely on our professional judgement to make decisions every day that are in the best interest of our patients,” said Diane Brunelle, co-chair of the Western MA Nursing Collaborative. “When we collaborate with one another, make our own decisions about our patients and focus on being effective caregivers, we ensure the delivery of quality healthcare in a caring, structured, and responsible manner. This misguided proposal does not improve the quality of healthcare or place patients first.”
Western MA Nursing Collaborative members include nurses from American International College; Bay Path University; Elms College; University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Westfield State University; Baystate Health; Caring Health Center; Cooley Dickinson Health; Genesis Health/Heritage Hall; Holyoke Medical Center; Porchlight VNA/Home Care – Chicopee; Shriners Hospitals for Children – Springfield; Mercy Medical Center; and the Western Massachusetts Black Nurses Association.
Also last week, the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce joined the Coalition. The Chamber’s members include UMass Memorial-Marlborough Hospital, along with numerous eldercare centers, rehabilitation facilities, and doctor’s offices.
“Our local hospitals are a huge part of our community, and have much different needs than larger, city hospitals,” said Susanne Leeber, president and CEO of the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce. “This one-size-fits-all ballot question will have an enormous impact on our hospitals and our local economy, and ultimately harm patient safety and quality of care.”
Currently Massachusetts law mandates ratios only for ICU units, but those restrictions have adversely affected patient care.
“Since the ICU ratios were mandated, Marlborough Hospital has suffered considerably. It is not unusual for us to transfer patients out when we can’t meet the ratio, and currently, we can only staff eight patient beds when we are a ten-bed unit,” said John Kelly, a registered nurse and Chief Nursing Officer and Chief Operating Officer at UMass Memorial-Marlborough Hospital. “This is not good for our patients or our community. To date, there is no evidence that the staffing ratios have improved quality or outcomes.”
Read more recent developments on Question 1 here.