News & Events

January 25 – Joint Committee on Health Care Finance Holding Public Hearing on Bills to Set Safe Patient Limits for Nurses in Massachusetts Hospitals

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 Health Care Finance will hold a public hearing on legislation that will 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 (HB1469/SB543) 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. 

Safe staffing saves lives and controls health care costs. Scientific research makes clear that poor staffing contributes 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 does not 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: Phil Mamber from the Mass Senior Action Council, Alex Ziss, former hospital administrator at Falmouth Hospital and patient safety advocate, Tim Sullivan from the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, Donna Kelly-Williams, RN, president of the Massachusetts Nurses Association; DeAnn McEwen, President, California Nurses Association (where this legislation has been law for more than eight years) Mary Havlicek , RN, from Tufts Medical Center, Marlena Pelligrino from St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester. Laurie Budnick, RN, oncology nurse from UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, and Donna Stern, RN, a psychiatric nurse from Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield. 

Where: State House Hearing Room A1

When: The hearing will start at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, January 25.