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Question on nurse staffing limits to appear on November ballot

Boston Business Journal: On Monday, the Committee to Ensure Safe Patient Care said the Secretary of the Commonwealth had certified 18,145 signatures to put a question on the ballot in November — far more than the 10,972 required signatures. The approval comes a few weeks after the Supreme Judicial Court rejected a challenge to the initiative by a hospital-backed group.The nurse staffing question, which will appear as the first question on the ballot, asks voters to establish certain patient-to-nurse limits in different areas of the hospital. For example, in the operating room and labor and delivery unit, as well as for trauma patients in the ER, the nurses group has proposed having no more than one patient assigned to each nurse. In pediatrics, non-urgent ER patients, and outpatient areas, one nurse could have up to four patients under the proposal.
Hospitals that willfully ignore the requirements would be fined $25,000 per day, according to the ballot.
“It’s crazy to think that there are no limits (on) the number of patients that managers can assign to a nurse at one time, and the negative consequences are so clear,” said Kate Norton, spokeswoman for the committee behind the ballot.

The committee behind the ballot initially submitted 100,000 signatures in December to initiate the process, significantly more than the 64,750 that were required.

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