During the 2018 election, 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 a ballot question that 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 take decision-making power out of the hands of healthcare professionals at the bedside, harm our state’s highly rated quality of care, and drive up costs for everyone.

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 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 proposal is the wrong prescription for patients and would force dramatic cutbacks across our entire healthcare system.

Members of the growing coalition against the ballot proposal include:

  • Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association
  • Organization of Nurse Leaders
  • American Nurses Association, Massachusetts chapter
  • Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals
  • Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals