Advocates of Patient Safety Release Ad Exposing Hospital Executives and Multibillion-dollar Hospital Corporations as the True Source of Opposition to Safe Patient Limits, Question 1
Hospital executives, who are responsible for this crisis, claim that they cannot afford to provide safer patient care when they spend billions on new administrative buildings and on the purchase of hospitals and entire hospital networks in other states and other countries; and while hoarding more than $900 million in the Cayman Islands and other offshore tax havens.
Nurses who drafted and are promoting this measure, An Act relative to patient safety and hospital transparency (the Patient Safety Act), to improve care for their patients, are responding to what they see as a public health crisis.
These hospitals corporations behind the deceptive NO campaign claim that they can’t 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 same executives have already bankrolled over $8.6 million in media buys to date.
“Nurses wrote and support Question 1 because we have tried for years to convince these executives to provide us with conditions, including safe limits on the number of patients we care for, to ensure we can provide the care our patients need when they need it most,” said Donna Kelly-Williams, RN, President of the Massachusetts Nurses Association and Co-Chair of the Committee to Ensure Safe Patient Care. “Hospital executives are bankrolling a multimillion-dollar campaign made up of deception, lies, and fear-mongering at its most extreme. It is absolutely shameful that they are attempting to pit nurse versus nurse, hoping that we won’t notice that they are doing everything humanly possible to protect their astronomical profit margins and huge CEO salaries, rather than investing in quality patient care.”
Hospital executives are threatening to close the services that treat our most vulnerable patients, blaming the cost to implement safe patient limits. These same hospitals are making this threat while generating annual revenues in excess of $28 billion, posting enormous profits, and paying their CEOs seven figure salaries, with double digit raises. They are making this threat when all the research and the experience with this law in California shows that with safe patient limits hospitals are more profitable and cost efficient.
The bottom line is that more than three quarters of Massachusetts nurses (77%) believe that RNs are assigned too many patients to care for at one time. And 90% of RNs report that they don’t have the time to properly comfort and care for patients and families due to unsafe patient assignments, with 86% of RNs reporting that they don’t have the time to educate patients and provide adequate discharge planning. According to recent survey results, nearly 9 in 10 nurses (86%) report that they will vote yes for the Patient Safety Act.
“The need for safe patient limits is one that is shared by nurses in every state and in many countries,” said Kelly-Williams. “We are proud and empowered that so many organizations and so many nurses have endorsed our initiative, particularly because these organizations represent frontline nurses, those who actually provide direct care to patients and understand what it means to have human lives in your hands, and what it means for those vulnerable patients when you are forced to care for too many at one time.”
Today, outside of acute care hospital intensive care units, there is no law that specifies how many patients a nurse can safely care for at one time. It is not uncommon for nurses in Massachusetts to have six or seven patients at one time, when a safe limit would be no more than four patients for a nurse on a typical medical/surgical floor. Numerous studies show that when nurses have safe patient assignments as proposed by the Patient Safety Act, patient readmissions, medical errors, infections and other complications are dramatically reduced, saving healthcare systems millions of dollars each year.