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MNA Holds Joint Press Conferences on Jan. 19 Outside Tufts Medical Center in Boston and St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester As Nurses Re-File Bill to Set Safe Staffing Levels and Introduce New Bill to Ban Forced Overtime in Hospitals

These Hospitals Serve As “Poster Children” for the Need to Pass the Safe Staffing Bill Nurses Believe Without Action to Improve Conditions, Thousands of Patients Will Continue to Suffer Needlessly and Nurses Across the State May be Forced to Strike to Win Needed Protections

When:     Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Time:       10 a.m.

Where:     Tufts Medical Center                  St. Vincent Hospital
                  750 Washington St., Boston       50 Foster St., Worcester
                  Outside Main Entrance               between St. Vincent Foster St.
                                                                 entrance and DCU Center
                                                                 Box Office Entrance

MNA leaders, as well as frontline nurses from Tufts Medical Center and St. Vincent Hospital, along with nurses from other area hospitals, will speak about current conditions/need for bills

Leaders from the Massachusetts Nurses Association, along with registered nurses from Tufts Medical Center in Boston and St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester will hold joint 10 a.m. press conferences outside the two facilities on Jan. 19 to detail their concerns about patient safety at their hospitals and to call for legislative support for, and passage of, long-sought legislation to set safe patient limits for nurses, as well as a new bill to ban the dangerous practice of mandatory overtime as a means of staffing hospitals. 

Following the press conferences, bedside nurses from each facility, will head to the state house to ask legislators to co-sponsor both measures, which are being filed this week by the MNA. 

Bedside nurses at Tufts Medical Center and St. Vincent Hospital have been working to address dangerous staffing conditions that in the last year have resulted in more than a 1,300 reports of unsafe situations at both facilities where patient care was compromised.  MNA points to these hospitals as “poster children” for deplorable staffing practices that are representative of a growing trend in the industry statewide and nationwide.   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. 

Due to the legislature’s failure to address the issue of safe staffing in hospitals, nurses at these two hospitals believe they may be forced to take drastic steps to protect their patients.  Both Tufts Medical Center and St. Vincent Hospital nurses’ are also attempting to achieve safe patient limits through the collective bargaining process.  However, because there is no state law requiring hospitals to provide safe patient assignments for nurses, the only option for them and other nurses across the state and nation will be to strike for patient safety.  Last year 1,200 nurses at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia and more than 10,000 nurses from several hospitals in Minnesota waged high profile strikes over this same issue. 

For more than a decade, the hospital industry has fought furiously to defeat any regulatory measure that would limit their ability to engage in unsafe staffing practices.  Different versions of the legislation have made it to the House and Senate floors over the past 15 years but have never successfully passed through both chambers.

The nurses of Massachusetts, along with more than 125 leading health care and consumer groups who are part of the Coalition to Protect Massachusetts Patients, believe that safe limits on nurses’ patient assignments, along with limits on forced overtime, will dramatically improve patient care and significantly reduce the turnover of nursing staff while at the same time improving the financial performance of hospitals.

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