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Devastating impact of ballot question 1

09/12/2018

Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children today announced the devastating impact mandated nurse staffing ratios would have on their ability to provide the highest quality care to the sickest patients in the city. Slated to be Question 1 on the ballot this November, these rigid staffing ratios will take decision-making away from doctors and nurses and put it in the hands of the government. 
 
“Our hospital makes a critical impact in our community and on the many patients who rely on us for care,” said Terry Hudson-Jinks, RN, Interim Co-CEO and longtime Chief Nursing Officer at Tufts Medical Center. “If Question 1 passes, the important work accomplished here every day could be threatened by the costs associated to comply with a law that has not been proven to be effective for quality of care or patient safety.” 

Impact on care

The enormous costs associated with the nurse staffing ballot question will set Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children back nearly $20 million, potentially resulting in cuts to programs and services and, potentially, the closure of 60 of its 415 hospital beds. 
 
Emergency department wait times will increase dramatically as the hospital struggles to comply with the rigid ratios. If Question 1 were to pass, Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children would have to hire more than 130 Registered Nurses within 2 months of the law passing, or reduce the services that the Medical Center provides. 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 all Massachusetts hospitals, 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. 
 
“This ballot question undermines my professional judgment as a registered nurse,” said Jennifer Marshall, RN, an emergency department nurse at Tufts Medical Center. “Nurses need— and want—the ability to make the right choices for our patients. This ballot question takes this hard-earned judgment away from us.”  

Opposition 

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.”
 
 
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About Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children
Tufts Medical Center is an exceptional, not-for-profit, 415 bed academic medical center that is home to both a full service hospital for adults and Floating Hospital for Children. Conveniently located in downtown Boston, we’re the principle teaching hospital for Tufts University School of Medicine. We offer a level one trauma center with a rooftop helipad, are the largest heart transplant center in New England and our renowned research program ranks among the top 10 percent of independent hospitals to receive federal research funding. Our physician network of 1,800 New England Quality Care Alliance doctors represents our strong commitment to health in the community. Tufts Medical Center is a founding member of Wellforce. More at www.TuftsMedicalCenter.org.