Costly nurse staffing initiative avoided through a compromise
Publish Date: 7/8/2014
Up until recently, the Massachusetts Nurses Association was
promoting two ballot questions on nurse-patient ratios and hospital financial
transparency. The staffing ratio initiative would have set ratios in all hospital
units, and the other initiative would have regulated CEO compensation and
annual operating margins as well as required financial asset disclosures of
hospitals and other facilities. The Massachusetts
Hospital Association strongly opposed both initiatives.
As the deadline approached for the MNA to collect signatures
for the ballot initiatives, it launched TV and radio ad campaigns highlighting
hospital CEO compensation. YouTube videos were also used by nurses to voice
their concerns about staffing.
However, in an attempt to avoid costly and arduous ballot
campaigns for both MNA and MHA, both sides were able to come to a last minute
compromise. They agreed to language requiring a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio depending on
the stability of the patient in the ICU only. As part of the compromise, MNA agreed
to drop its ballot initiative push if the bill was signed by the Governor by
July 2, 2014. The bill made it quickly through the House and Senate and was
rushed to Governor Patrick for his signature on June 30, 2014.
While the two organizations were able to find a compromise,
do not expect this issue to disappear. The MNA has stated it will continue to
pursue legislation for staffing ratios throughout Massachusetts hospitals.