Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth announced its opposition to ballot question 1, which would mandate rigid nurse staffing ratios throughout the state.
Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth announced Sept. 12 its opposition to ballot question 1, which would mandate rigid nurse staffing ratios throughout the state. Slated to be question 1 on the ballot this November, these rigid staffing ratios will devastate community hospitals and behavioral health facilities across Massachusetts.
“Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth is nationally-recognized as a top hospital for patient safety and quality with a four-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and an A-rating from the Leapfrog Group,” BID-Plymouth president and CEO Kevin Coughlin said. “We achieved these national recognitions by collaborating with our exceptional nurses to ensure that we’re well-staffed and being flexible when and where needed. If passed, the government-mandated ratios and related fines would plunge BID-Plymouth into an immediate financial crisis and jeopardize our current nationally-recognized safety ratings.”
The enormous costs associated with the passage of the nurse staffing ballot question would set Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth back $8-$10 million annually. If passed, the hospital would be forced to reduce services, programs, and possibly cut vital community services in order to make up for the non-funded government nurse staffing ratio mandate.
If passed, emergency department wait times would increase dramatically as hospitals struggle to comply with the rigid ratios. BID-Plymouth currently has a deficit of 30 nurses, which will only increase to 75 nurses if the ballot question passes. According to an independent study by MassInsight and BW Research Partners, the state of Massachusetts will need to hire 5,911 new nurses within 37 days of the rigid mandate passing at a time when there is already a dire nurse shortage across the state.
The ballot question would require that hospitals across the state, no matter their size or specific needs of their patients, to 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.
The ballot question is opposed by the American Nurses Association of Massachusetts, the Organization of Nurse Leaders, the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, the Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals, the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals, and other healthcare and business leaders across the state.
“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," Donna Glynn, president of the American Nurses Association and a nurse scientist for the VA Boston Healthcare System, said. “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.”