News & Events

Massachusetts Nurses Association Response to the MHA’s Latest Updating of the “Patients First” Web Site

Attention editors and reporters: The MNA welcomes the opportunity to offer comment should you decide to provide coverage related to the Massachusetts Hospital Association’s press release considering the posting of their staffing plans for 2009 on their “Patients First” web site.

As we have stated since this site was first launched:

  • This web site provides no useful information and fails to address the crisis we face in the quality and safety of nursing care in Massachusetts. The fact is patients in Massachusetts hospitals are suffering poor care, longer stays and needless complications because too many hospitals are forcing nurses to care for too many patients at once.
  • This is part of the hospital industry’s PR campaign to give the illusion of improving quality, while they are actually doing nothing to fix the root cause of the problem – providing a safe limit on the number of patients a nurse is assigned.
  • The information provided on the web site is confusing and inaccurate and does not reflect that actual staffing on the floor.
  • Finally, two years ago the MNA conducted research about the site with recent patients in Mass. hospitals and 90 percent of those surveyed had no knowledge of the site and a similar number reported they wouldn’t use it.
  • Patients don’t need a web site telling them how dangerous the staffing level is at their particular hospital. Theyneed a guarantee that there will be a safe standard of registered nursing care no matter what hospital they go to. The only way to do that is to pass legislation, the Patient Safety Act, requiring hospitals to comply with a uniform standard of safe care no matter where they receive that care.
  • The fact is a number of hospitals across the state are cutting back on their nurse staffing levels, and many are forcing nurses to care for more patients, despite what they have portrayed on their web site.
  • The Nurses at two of those hospitals, Boston Medical Center and Tufts Medical Center, are taking the unusual step of conducting joint informational picketing outside the entrance to their facilities next Thursday, Feb. 11th, to protest the dangerous staffing conditions at their hospital. This picketing is not connected to a union contract negotiation (these nurses have contracts in place). They are picketing because they are concerned for the safety of their patients. BMC wants to increase the number of patients nurses care for in some of their critical care units, and Tufts has increased their patient assignments for most nurses, making their staffing the worst of any hospital in the city. For information on the picket visit: These staffing changes aren’t reflected on the Patients First site.

To set up an interview for MNA comment on this story, call David Schildmeier at 781-249-0430.


MA Hospitals’ Actual Unit-Specific Staffing Reports for 2009 Posted

The Patients First website, which allows the public to see how each nursing unit in every Massachusetts hospital is staffed, has been updated with the latest actual staffing plans for FY2009. Budgeted 2010 staffing plans were posted last December. The difference between the actual and planned staffing is a reflection of the constantly changing needs of patients.

Some 86 acute care, long term acute care, and rehabilitation hospitals have participated, sharing approximately 730 unit staffing plans for critical care, step down, and medical/surgical units; emergency department plans can also be viewed at the site.

Massachusetts was the first state to voluntarily make this information public. The site also contains comments from the hospitals explaining their numbers. It’s a great resource for patients and along with the other postings on the Patients First website – which include hospitals’ reports of falls and pressure ulcers, among other measures – it gives patients an open and transparent view of the hospitals providing them care.

View the hospitals’ staffing plans and reports on the Patients First website,