Profit margin shouldn’t guide health care quality

Cape Cod Times: The Patient Safety Act will improve patient outcomes and accountability by setting a safe maximum limit on the number of patients assigned to a nurse at one time, while providing flexibility to hospitals to adjust nurses’ patient assignments based on specific patient needs.

Massachusetts nurses have long advocated for safe patient limits in their hospitals, communities and at the Statehouse. Their advocacy on our behalf has resulted in limits in intensive care units, which are in place for a reason; we must now expand patient protections by expanding patient limits beyond ICUs.

We must not let hospital executives determine what is best for us through their bottom line of profit margin. Let us determine for ourselves that overworked nurses cannot possibly supply adequate care — that is when problems are most likely to occur. Independent scientific studies consistently find that quality of care decreases dramatically when nurses are forced to care for too many patients at once.

I urge a “yes” vote on patient limits in November.

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