Cape Cod, Cape Cod Canal and Plymouth Chambers Oppose Nurse Staffing Ballot Question

All joined the Coalition to Protect Patient Safety...

BOSTON, MA – The Cape Cod, Cape Cod Canal Region and Plymouth Area Chambers of Commerce today joined the Coalition to Protect Patient Safety in opposition to the proposed nurse staffing ballot question. The Chambers’ members include Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth, Cape Cod and Falmouth Hospitals, along with numerous eldercare centers, rehabilitation facilities, and doctor’s offices.

“This initiative would negatively affect everyone in our community,” said Wendy Northcross, President of Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. “We advocate for policies that will improve quality of life for our members and for the region at large. Our members rank the cost of health insurance premiums as one of their major concerns, and we believe this ballot initiative would increase insurance premiums, copays, deductibles, and taxes for small business owners and families alike.”

“Our community relies on our nearby hospitals,” said Amy Naples, President of the Plymouth Area Chamber of Commerce. “If this ballot question passes, the vital community health programs our hospitals run would be threatened, and the massive costs associated with this bill will be passed on to our local businesses and families. Rigid nurse staffing ratios are the wrong move for Massachusetts.”

The ballot question, proposed by the Massachusetts nurses’ union, which represents less than a quarter of nurses in the Commonwealth, would require that hospitals across the state, no matter their size or specific needs of their patients, 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.

“Government mandated nurse staffing ratios would cause health care costs to increase dramatically, and those costs will be passed off to our local families and small businesses,” said Marie Oliva, President and CEO of the Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber. “This initiative would be bad for our community, our local economy and most of all the many residents who count on our local hospitals.”

The measure would cost the Massachusetts healthcare system more than $1.3 billion dollars in the first year, and more than $900 million each year thereafter, according to an independent study by MassInsight and BW Research Partners. Hospitals will be forced to cut vital health programs, such as cancer screenings, opioid treatments, mental health services, early childhood intervention, domestic violence programs and pre- or post-natal care.

“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.”

The Cape Cod, Cape Cod Canal Region and Plymouth Area Chambers of Commerce represent thousands of businesses across the region, and come together to advocate for policies that improve the quality of life for the residents of their communities and bolster the local economy.

The Cape Cod, Cape Cod Canal Region and Plymouth Area Chambers of Commerce join the American Nurses Association Massachusetts, the Organization of Nurse Leaders, the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, the Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals, the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals, and other healthcare and business leaders in protecting the state’s health care system and its patients from the consequences of this rigid, costly mandate that is expected to be placed before voters in the November 2018 election. 

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