Cranberry Country Chamber Of Commerce

Massachusetts Nurse-Patient Assignment Limits Initiative

POSITION STATEMENT

Massachusetts Nurse-Patient Assignment Limits Initiative

 

The Cranberry Country Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit business advocacy and economic development organization. It has a diverse membership base of over 250 businesses primarily small and medium size, in the Middleboro area representing Middleboro, Lakeville, Carver, Bridgewater, Halifax, Plympton Raynham, Rochester, and Wareham. This policy position is intended to serve as guidelines for the Chamber’s Legislative Committee’s efforts and has been reviewed and approved by the Chamber’s Legislative Committee and Board of Directors.

 

Adopted: 5/16/2018

 

The Cranberry Country and its Board of Directors oppose and do not support the proposed Massachusetts Nurse-Patient Assignment Limits Initiative.

The measure would establish patient assignment limits for registered nurses working in hospitals. Limits would be determined by the type of medical unit or patient a nurse is working with. The Massachusetts Nurses Association is supporting the ballot initiative.

On December 21, 2017, the secretary of state said that a sufficient number of signatures had been submitted and certified to move the process forward. The next step is for the measure to go before the Massachusetts General Court (had to act by May 2, 2018).

Our Chamber opposes this balloted initiative because this measure would impose rigid government-mandated nurse staffing requirements at every hospital in Massachusetts, overriding the professional judgment of qualified healthcare professionals who are on the job treating every patient. If this measure were to pass, nurses will not have the flexibility to make real-time decisions about patient care, even in life or death situations.

Many Massachusetts families are already struggling to pay for healthcare as it is, and this proposal will drive costs up even more. Higher costs will undoubtedly be felt across our state’s healthcare system. The additional costs will ultimately be passed on to families and local businesses in the form of higher insurance premiums, copays, deductibles, and taxes.

Additionally, this mandate will dramatically increase emergency room wait times and delay other life-saving care services. Even worse, it would force hospitals to send patients to other hospitals, or prevent hospitals from admitting patients if the number of nurses on duty does not comply with the rigid government mandate.

This proposal would increase wait times for all types of healthcare services, including life-saving procedures such as treatment for heart attacks and strokes, radiation therapy or chemotherapy infusions, wound care, and diabetes management.

California is the only state in the United States of America that has imposed such mandated ratios, and there is no evidence it has improved quality of care.

Healthcare treatment, staffing and overall procedure belong in the hands of industry professionals, not government.

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