Milford Regional Medical Center Announces Devastating Impacts of Ballot One Question
Sep 27, 2018 07:00AM
● By Pamela Johnson
Milford Regional Medical Center has predicted that government mandated nurse-staffing ratios would cost the hospital $4.7 millionMilford Regional Medical Center recently announced the negative impacts mandated nurse staffing ratios would have on their viability and their capability to provide safe, quality care to patients across the region. Slated to be Question 1 on the ballot this November, these rigid staffing ratios will devastate community hospitals and behavioral health facilities across Massachusetts.
“The unintended consequences of this ballot question would reverse all of the progress we have made in patient care in the last decade,” said Judy Kelly, Milford Regional’s VP of Patient Care Services and CNO with over 25 years in the nursing profession. “Quality of care and patient safety will be impacted, and community hospitals like ours will struggle to stay open. That is unacceptable.”
The enormous costs associated with the nurse staffing ballot question will set Milford-
Regional back almost $5 million, resulting in bed closures, reduced patient services, delayed upgrades in medical/diagnostic technologies as well as elimination of new technologies, longer wait times and threaten the viability of the Medical Center.
In order to comply with the massive costs associated with the rigid ratios included in Question 1, patients will be forced to wait for beds to become available if every nurse is at their mandated number of patients. According to an independent study by MassInsight and BW Research Partners, Question 1 will cost Massachusetts’ health care system $1.3 billion in the first year, and $900 million every year thereafter. This cost will be passed on to hospitals, impacting access to care, and increasing emergency room wait times.
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.
“This is wrong for patients, and it is wrong for nurses,” said Lynn Donatelli, Registered Nurse at Milford Regional Medical Center. “I am trained to use my professional judgement as a nurse to make decisions for my patients. If I lose that ability, it is the patient who will suffer.”
The ballot question is opposed by the American Nurses Association - Massachusetts, Emergency Nurses Association - Massachusetts Chapter, Organization of Nurse Leaders, Infusion Nurses Society, Massachusetts Association of Colleges of Nursing, Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses’ Greater Boston Chapter, the Western Massachusetts Nursing Collaborative, the Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians, 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." said Donna Glynn, President of the American Nurses Association and a Nurse Scientist for the VA Boston Healthcare System. “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.”