News & Events

Agreement Reached on Landmark Measure to Protect Patients by Setting Safe Patient Limits for Nurses in all Intensive Care Units

CANTON, Mass. – Agreement was reached today on a  landmark measure that will codify in state law safe patient limits for registered nurses who work in the all the state’s hospital intensive care units, ensuring that no nurse can be assigned more than one patient or in certain circumstances, no more than two patients based on the assessment of the nurses on that unit. 

The measure was passed in the house tonight and is expected to move next to the Senate.

Negotiations over the agreement were initiated by Senate Majority Leader Stan Rosenberg . “We thank Leader Rosenberg, Senate President Therese Murray and Speaker Robert DeLeo for their efforts to protect patients,” said Donna Kelly-Williams, RN, president of the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United (MNA/NNU)

If the bill is signed into law before July 2, the MNA/NNU has agreed to pull its ballot initiatives — the Patient Safety Act and, the Hospital Profit Transparency and Fairness Act.  The MNA/NNU has gathered more than enough signatures to place both measures on the ballot this November.

“If passed and signed by the Governor, this is a significant victory for the patients in Massachusetts hospitals that breaks the decade-long logjam on Beacon Hill over the issue of establishing an enforceable maximum limit on the number of patients a nurse can care for at one time.” said Kelly-Williams.


“This measure will protect the most critically ill patients. We believe there should be limits to protect ALL patients in our hospitals.” Kelly Williams added.  “We intend to continue working to protect all Massachusetts hospital patients by extending the limits in this bill to other units in hospitals.”

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