This November, the choice will be yours: Do we want an unproven, one-size-fits-all government mandate that strips life-saving decision-making power away from nurses and doctors?
This November, Massachusetts voters will consider Question 1, which would institute government-mandated nurse staffing levels at all hospitals across the Commonwealth. If approved by voters, the law would require every hospital to adopt rigid, one-size-fits-all Registered Nurse-to-patient ratios at all times – regardless of a hospital’s size, location, or the needs of patients.
Massachusetts nurses, hospitals and leading healthcare organizations oppose this overly rigid and unproven proposal. They know it will cause ER wait times to skyrocket, force a reduction of 1,000 behavioral health beds, and drain nurses from settings like home care, nursing homes, and rehabilitation.
According to a report from the state, Question 1 will cost nearly $1 billion every year. To implement this costly unfunded proposal, hospitals will be forced to make deep cuts to critical programs, such as opioid treatment and mental health services. Many community hospitals will not be able to absorb the added cost and will be forced to close.
One Massachusetts nurses’ union, representing less than 25 percent of the nurses in the state, has been pushing this proposal unsuccessfully in the legislature for more than 20 years. California is the only state that has implemented nurse staffing, and there is no evidence that those mandates have increased the quality of care patients receive. Similar efforts in other states to impose nurse-to-patient ratios have been soundly rejected.
Massachusetts patients already receive some of the highest levels of quality care in the nation. While improvements can always be made, this ballot question is the wrong prescription for patients and would force dramatic cutbacks across our entire healthcare system.
Members of the growing coalition against Question 1 include:
- American Nurses Association – Massachusetts
- Emergency Nurses Association – Greater Boston Chapter
- Organization of Nurse Leaders
- Infusion Nurses Society
- Massachusetts Association of Colleges of Nursing
- Western Massachusetts Nursing Collaborative
- Massachusetts Medical Society
- Massachusetts Ambulance Association
- Massachusetts Association of Behavioral Health Systems
- Massachusetts Senior Care Association
- Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts
- Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals
- Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association
- Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals
- VNA Care
- Atrius Health