2018 Nurse Staffing Ballot Initiative: Get the Facts
A union representing less than a quarter of nurses in Massachusetts has filed a ballot initiative
The initiative is scheduled for a vote in November 2018, and would impose government-mandated nurse staffing ratios in every hospital across the state. If passed, the law would mean that nurses lose flexibility and care for fewer patients. The law would also impose strict financial penalties on hospitals.
Learn the facts below. Find out more by reading the petition on Mass.gov, and by visiting protectpatientsafety.com.
Here's the reality of how the mandate would affect Baystate Health, nurses, patients, and our community:
Baystate Health would care for 21% fewer patients.
It would be impossible to meet the rigid ratios at all times and would create a loss of flexibility and shared decision-making, creating a situation where the government would be making decisions that do not improve patient care.
Real-time decision making power of nurses would be put it in the hands of a rigid government mandate.
Currently, Baystate Health nurses assess and determine patient acuity and requirements, autonomously readjusting patient care assignments to reflect appropriate and required care. This would change.
Baystate Health would not be able to meet the impossible requirement of hiring 220 additional nurses to meet the mandate.
We, and the health care industry as a whole, are challenged to find experienced nurses during a nation-wide nursing shortage.
Current nursing roles at Baystate Health would be reconfigured.
Important teams like the Rapid Response Team, the IV Team, and Nurse Educators would be discontinued and reconfigured as nurses would need to be re-assigned to direct patient care. Twelve-hour shifts would need to be re-evaluated.
Baystate Health would be forced to spend approximately $40 million a year to staff to the mandated level.
We would risk being fined $25,000 per-violation, per-day – forcing some units to close, and crippling our community hospitals.
Many more employees could be negatively affected.
If this ballot becomes law, Baystate Health may need to reduce capacity and close units and other roles on the patient care team would need to be impacted.
There is a reason only one state after all these years has adopted government-imposed ratios in the United States: It doesn’t work.
After 15 years of mandated nurse staffing ratios in California, our state still performs substantially better on nearly all quality and safety measures.
Many nurses oppose this ballot initiative, including leading nursing organizations.
This ballot initiative was filed by the MNA (Massachusetts Nurses Association), which represents less than 25% of nurses in Massachusetts. Leading nursing organizations like the American Nurses Association and the Organization of Nurse Leaders oppose this initiative. See what some of our nurses are saying.