UMass Memorial Healthcare Opposes Question 1

Friday, October 12, 2018
GoLocalWorcester News Team

UMass Memorial Healthcare announced that they are opposed to mandated nurse staffing ratios, citing the impacts the requirements would have on their ability to provide emergency care to patients.

The requirements are slated to be Question 1 on the ballot this November.

“In the Emergency Department, I’m especially concerned about the patients in the waiting room. If we can’t admit patients to the inpatient units due to staffing restrictions, we won’t be able to pull patients out of the waiting rooms to determine their needs and promptly care for them. Longer emergency department wait times and restricted care are going to be common occurrences if Question 1 passes,” said Gregory A. Volturo, MD, Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine at UMass Memorial Medical Center.

The Ballot Question

The ballot question would require that hospitals across the state, no matter their size or specific needs of their patients, adhere to the same 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 teaching hospitals like UMass Memorial Medical Center.

According to UMass’ press release, “the enormous costs and operational hurdles associated with the nurse staffing ballot question will set UMass Memorial back $36 million and will lead to negative impacts for patients in their emergency department.”

“If this bill passes it will significantly impact the professional development of nurses. We have special training for new nurses and you can’t replace one nurse with another, they need specialized skills that take time. Staffing requirements won’t allow us to provide that proper training necessary for safe patient care,” said Candra Szymanski, Associate Chief Nursing Officer for Emergency and Critical Care Services at UMass Memorial

Others Opposing the Question

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.

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