Press Release: Hospital executives spend millions more on deceptive ads instead of patient safety, all while taking public funds, posting over $1 billion in profits, and hoarding over $1 billion in offshore tax havensWORCESTER – Today, supporters of Question 1 gathered in front of the corporate headquarters of UMass Memorial Health in effort to expose the true opposition to Safe Patient Limits: multimillionaire hospital executives and multibillion-dollar hospital corporations. Over 30 patient safety advocates congregated including many local registered nurses, Worcester School Committee members John Monfredo and Dante Comparetto, Democratic candidate for Governor’s Council Paul DePalo, and Democratic candidate for State Representative in the 17th Worcester District David Leboeuf.
UMass is shuttering services for ill children in Northern Worcester County while spending $47 million on its mothership facility in Worcester. Dr. Eric Dickson, President & CEO of UMass Memorial Medical Center, received $2 million in compensation in 2016, while Patrick Muldoon, President of UMass Memorial Medical Center raked in $1.5 million in 2016 following his 14% increase in compensation from the previous year. Hospital executives of UMass Memorial Health Care have decided to close a pediatric unit, urgent care center and cardiac rehab service for vulnerable patients while posting profits in recent years in excess of $251 million, paying its top executives more than $32 million and while stashing more than $161 million in offshore tax havens.
These hospitals corporations behind the deceptive NO campaign claim that they cannot afford to meet the safe patient care limits called for by nurses with Question 1. But at the same time, news outlets are reporting enormous compensation packages for hospital CEOs, including raises for some of between 50 to 80 percent; and profits of more than $1 billion in 2017 for the Massachusetts hospital industry.
These corporate giants have already spent $11 million dollars on deceptive ads claiming nurses oppose Question 1, which could not be further from the truth. • 86 percent of nurses surveyed say the support Question 1, and fully 90 percent of the state’s nurses report that under current conditions they can’t provide the care hospital patients need to be safe. Nursing organizations representing hundreds of thousands of nurses from across North America have endorsed the effort by Massachusetts nurses.
“Any claim that this decision to cut services for those most in need has anything to do with the pending ballot questions is a callous and despicable ploy by the profit driven hospital industry to score political point at the expense of vulnerable children and families,” said Marlena Pellegrino, RN, St. Vincent Hospital. “This tactic is just another example of the lengths this industry will go to avoid being held accountable for providing the safe care patients expect and deserve, because the truth is that hospital executives are the reason we need safe patient limits in the first place.”
The Massachusetts hospital industry is dominated by large national corporate hospital networks, with 20 percent for-profit institutions and 15 percent owned by Wall Street investment firms. Hospitals in Massachusetts boast over $1 billion in profits each year, with some of the highest rates of executive compensation in the country. Significant portions of hospital industry money can be found in real estate assets, institutions outside of Massachusetts, and stashed in off-shore tax havens to the tune of $1 billion. This is the foundation for those opposing safe patient limits.