Association’s member organizations include the Winchester Hospital Foundation
BOSTON, MA – June 14, 2018 – The Woburn Business Association today joined the Coalition to Protect Patient Safety in opposition to the proposed nurse staffing ballot question. The Association’s members include Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, along with numerous eldercare centers, rehabilitation facilities, and doctor’s offices.
“As an organization representing the interests of businesses in the Woburn area, we advocate for those policies that will bolster our local economy and improve the quality of life for our residents,” said Woburn Business Association Executive Director Heather Maguire. “Mandated nurse staffing ratios will have a negative effect on our community. The added costs of this ballot question will have a detrimental effect on local families and small businesses, and burden our local hospitals.”
The ballot question, proposed by the Massachusetts nurses’ union, which represents less than a quarter of nurses in the Commonwealth, would require that hospitals across the state, no matter their size or specific needs of their patients, adhere to the same rigid nurse staffing ratios within all patient care areas at all times. The petition does not make allowances for rural or small community hospitals, holding them to the same staffing ratios as major Boston teaching hospitals.
“Nurse staffing should be a collaborative process between all nurses in order to do the right thing by our patients. Patient safety is not about numbers or legislation – it’s about empowering the professional nurse to make real time decisions about a patient’s needs, which can change by the minute or the hour,” said Deb Cronin-Waelde, a Registered Nurse, Chief Nursing Officer, and Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations at Melrose Wakefield Healthcare. “Nurse staffing is about matching the needs of the patient to the skills and capacity of the nurse. This ballot question would strip nurses of their decision making ability, and instead give that power to the state.”
“This proposal threatens the high quality of care we provide patients,” said Amanda Stefancyk Oberlies, CEO of the Organization of Nurse Leaders, which is headquartered in Woburn. “It will prevent nurses and doctors from being able to use their best judgment in times of crisis, and the cost pressures will negatively impact other commitments that support nurses, including professional development, research support, nurse residency programs and other funding for nurse time away from the bedside.”
This measure would cost the Massachusetts healthcare system more than $1.3 billion dollars in the first year, and more than $900 million each year thereafter, according to an independent study by MassInsight and BW Research Partners. Hospitals will be forced to cut vital health programs, such as cancer screenings, opioid treatments, mental health services, early childhood intervention, domestic violence programs and pre- or post-natal care.
“There are no scientific studies or reports that demonstrate the effectiveness of government mandated, one-size-fits-all nurse staffing ratio for improving quality of care, patient outcomes or professional nursing practice.” said Donna Glynn, President of the American Nurses Association and a Nurse Scientist for the VA Boston Healthcare System. “In fact, no studies evaluating nurse staffing ratios reported a magic number as the single factor to affect patient outcomes or job satisfaction. This ballot question is ignoring scientific fact around what is best for nursing practice, decision making and quality patient care.”
The Woburn Business Association is a nonprofit organization representing dozens of businesses throughout the region. The organization helps businesses and its members be successful, and advocates for policies that improve the local economy.
The Woburn Business Association joins the American Nurses Association Massachusetts, the Organization of Nurse Leaders, the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, the Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals, the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals, and other healthcare and business leaders in protecting the state’s health care system and its patients from the consequences of this rigid, costly mandate that is expected to be placed before voters in the November 2018 election.