News & Events

Health Policy Commission to Vote June 10th on Final Recommendations for the Regulations Underpinning the New ICU RN Staffing Law – We Need You There

When:  Wednesday, June 10 at 12 Noon

Where:  Where:  1 Ashburton Place, 21st Floor in Boston (located across the street from the side entrance of the State House)

                     On Wednesday, June 10 at 12 noon., the Health Policy Commission will discuss and vote on final recommendations for the regulations underpinning the new law that sets safe patient limits for nurses working in all Massachusetts hospital intensive care units.  Nurses who wish to attend the meeting should arrive just before 12 noon, which will be held at 1 Ashburton Place on the 21st floor.

For a review of the proposed final regulations and a review of the MNA’s position on the issue, click here.

On September 28, 2014 a new law went into effect that requires hospitals to adhere to safer patient limits for registered nurses who care for patients in all Massachusetts hospital intensive care units. The law ensures that no nurse can take more than one patient, with the ability to move to a two-patient assignment based on the stability of the patients as assessed by the direct care nurses, not managers or administrators, with the assistance of a soon to be developed “acuity tool” (a tool used to identify and measure specific clinical and environmental factors that determine how stable a patient is and the amount of care required).  The language of the law is clear and unequivocal in its application to all acute care hospitals in the state both public and private and to all manner of ICUs as defined by the Department of Public health, including NICUs, PICUs, CCUs, SICUs, MICUs, etc.

The  HPC Quality Improvement and Patient Protection (QIPP) Committee has held two listening sessions to collect general comment and testimony on issues related to implementation of the law, including the formulation of acuity tools, methods of public reporting, and relevant patient safety quality indicators.

Representatives from the Massachusetts Nurses Association, along with other health care and consumer advocacy groups and legislators who drafted this law, provided testimony at the public hearings on March 25 and April 2 to express our serious concerns about the initial “draft” regulations and where we advocated for needed changes to ensure the intent of the law is followed. 

We were shocked to learn at the meeting two weeks ago by the Quality Improvement Patient Practice Committee that the committee had not made a final determination as to whether NICUs should be covered by the new law, despite the fact that this is what the law clearly stated and intended.  They have left the question of inclusion of NICUs in the law up for a discussion and decision by the full Health Policy Commission on June 10.  We have communicated our concerns about this blatant violation of the law’s intent to officials on the HPC, as have a number of legislators who drafted and voted unanimously in favor of the law. 

We can’t imagine how any responsible public official could support a policy that provides a lower standard of care for critically ill babies, and we are hopeful that the HPC comes to the same conclusion on June 10.  To help show your support for this issue, please join us on June 10 in your MNA blue.