Advocates for Hospital Patient Safety Speak Out on Massachusetts Safe Staffing Legislation - Region 1
News Conference on Monday, Sept. 19 at Noon Outside Cooley Dickinson Hospital
What: On Sept. 19 patient safety advocates from Western Mass. will hold a news conference to urge lawmakers to pass 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 once. A second bill (HB 1506) would prohibit the dangerous practice of utilizing mandatory overtime as a means of staffing hospitals. The event, one of five being held outside hospitals across the commonwealth, comes on the eve of a public hearing on the bills before the Joint Committee on Public Health on Tuesday, Sept. 20.
Who: Members of the Coalition to Protect Massachusetts Patients including:
- Jon Weissman, steering committee for the Coalition to Protect Massachusetts Patients
- John Bennett, Past President of the Mass. Senior Action Council
- Fiore J. Grassetti, President, Hampshire/Franklin Central Labor Council
- Carol Ahearn, RN at Cooley Dickinson Hospital
When: Monday, Sept. 19, at Noon
Where: Cooley Dickinson Hospital (outside)
30 Locust St. (Rt. 9), Northampton, MA
Why: 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 health care 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.