News & Events

MNA Testifies at Hearing Before House FY 2005 Budget Task Force on Hospitals

Nurses Decry Romney Budget Cuts for Health Care Services
Call for Greater Legislative Oversight of Hospital Industry Finances &
Reform of a Heath Care System that is Failing to Provide Patients Adequate Access or Safety

View full testimony

The Massachusetts Nurses Association provided testimony today before the House of Representatives FY 2005 Budget Task Force on Hospitals, where it used the opportunity to decry the governor’s proposed cuts in funding for the Mass Health program and the Uncompensated Care Pool, while also calling for greater legislative scrutiny of hospital industry finances and for the comprehensive reform of the health care system.

MNA Executive Director, Julie Pinkham, RN testified that “the governor’s cuts are shortsighted, misguided and devastating. Not only are these cuts harmful in their impact on the citizens of the Commonwealth, they are economically wasteful, ultimately resulting in patients receiving more costly care in already overcrowded emergency rooms.”

According to the MNA, “From the perspective of nurses who work on the front-lines and spend more time with patients and their families than any other provider group, the Massachusetts health care and hospital system needs an overhaul and real reform: it deprives access to those who need services and delivers inadequate to unsafe care to those who manage to obtain access.”

MNA faulted the lack of regulation of the hospital industry and the existing free market system of open competition, where over-bloated hospital networks imperil and/or close smaller community hospitals, as the major cause of the current crisis.

“As we look back over the transformation of the hospital industry since deregulation, we find the formation of large networks designed to leverage insurers and close weaker hospitals,” Pinkham said. “The vast administrative and large bureaucracy of networks such as Partners and CareGroup have created a thick layer of costs to our health care system with none of these dollars providing patient care and who pays? Nurses will tell you who is truly paying, it’s the patient. As all these millions of dollars are being diverted to lawyers and business planners and executive offices, patients are pushing a call button and waiting, and waiting and waiting, sometimes to the point of death for care that is not being provided. We have nurses at UMass Memorial Health Care that have the worst staffing ratios in the state and can’t get a blanket for a patient, or a bed that works, yet that system paid over $2 million in severance to two failed CEOs, one of whom left in disgrace for lying on his resume.”

The MNA called upon the legislature to expand scrutiny of hospital finances and practices; to pass pending legislation to prevent further closings of hospitals; to pass legislation to establish minimum RN staffing ratios to protect patients from harm; and to engage in comprehensive reform through implementation of a single payer system of health care financing.