2011 News

September 20 – Joint Committee on Public Health Holding Public Hearing on Bills to Set Safe Patient Limits and Prohibit Mandatory Overtime

09.19.2011

Nurses and Patient Safety Advocates Will Testify in Support of the Measures that Will Save Thousands of Lives and Millions of Valuable Health Care Dollars

What:             The legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Health will hold a public hearing on two pieces of legislation that would improve the quality of patient care, save millions of health care dollars and prevent thousands of preventable infections and medical errors caused by poor RN staffing in the state’s acute care hospitals. The Patient Safety Act (HB. 1469) calls upon the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to set safe limits on the number of hospital patients a nurse is forced to care for at one time. A second bill
(HB. 1506) would prohibit the dangerous practice of utilizing mandatory overtime as a means of staffing hospitals.

                        Safe staffing saves lives and controls health care costs. Scientific research makes clear that poor staffing and mandatory overtime contribute to millions of preventable complications for patients and causes thousands of preventable deaths each year. Study after study has confirmed that reducing the number of patients per nurse is consistently associated with improved hospital survival rates and fewer adverse patient events ¾ and reducing preventable medical errors could reduce healthcare costs by as much as 30 percent according to the journal Health Services Research. Every day that Massachusetts doesn’t act to fix the dangerous understaffing in our hospitals, thousands of patients will continue to suffer and millions of valuable health care dollars will continue to be squandered.

                  The state’s nurses and health care advocates have been pushing for passage of this bill for over a decade. With all the talk of lowering the cost of health care in Massachusetts, it is more important than ever to protect the quality of care by ensuring that hospital patients have adequate access to registered nurses.

Who:               A delegation of patient advocates and bedside registered nurses will be at the State House to advocate for safe patient care including: Jon Weissman from the Coalition to Protect Massachusetts Patients and Western Mass. Jobs With Justice; Marylin Hicks from the Greater Boston Chapter of Mass Senior Action Council, Jeff Crosby from the North Shore Labor Council, Donna Kelly-Williams, RN, president of the Massachusetts Nurses Association; Barbara Tiller, RN, from Tufts Medical Center and Marie Ritacco from St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester.

Where:            State House Hearing Room A1

When:             The hearing will start at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, September 20.

FPO