News & Events

Lawmakers Hold Sep. 24 Hearing on Bill to Provide Clear Data on Nurse Staffing, Supply of Nurses, Patient Care Quality in Mass. Hospitals and the True Cost to Implement Safe Patient Limits

As nurses continue to struggle to deliver quality care to patients in understaffed hospital environments across Massachusetts, frontline nurses, researchers and health care advocates will attend a hearing at the State House on Sept 24 to testify in support of The Workforce Development and Patient Safety Act (S 1255/H 2004).  The legislation would fund independent research studies to develop clear data on nurse staffing levels, the current and future supply of nurses, and accurate measures of the quality of patient care in our state’s hospitals.  The law would also provide guidance on appropriate staffing levels, with limits on nurses’ patient assignments and the cost to implement those limits  — all in the interest of aiding  stakeholders and policymakers in establishing safe and appropriate nursing care in our state’s acute care hospitals.


The bill was filed by the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) in an effort to clear up the confusion and misinformation caused by last year’s intense debate over the issue of safe patient limits for nurses, Question 1 on the November ballot, and where the hospital industry spent more than $30 million on TV and radio advertising, as well as on direct mail to voters and policymakers, much of it containing misleading information about the issue to scare the public into opposing the measure. 


“We believe the current state of patient care in our hospitals places our patients in jeopardy every day and this legislation is designed to cut through all the rhetoric and posturing by the industry to provide the public and policymakers with clear, independent, peer reviewed data on the state of patient care specific to Massachusetts so that we can all move forward in creating conditions that provide the care our patients expect and deserve,” said Donna Kelly-Williams, President of the MNA, who will testify at the hearing along with frontline nurses providing care in hospitals across the Commonwealth.


What:    Hearings on The Workforce Development and Patient Safety Act (S 1255/H 2004)
sponsored by State: Senator Diana DiZoglio (D-Metheun) and State Representative Dan. Ryan (D-Charlestown)

When:   Tuesday, Sept. 24, 1 p.m.

Where: Room A-2, State House, Boston

Who:   Donna Kelly-Williams, RN, MNA president; Judith Shindul-Rothschild, RN, PHD, former
professor of nursing economics at Boston College a leading researcher on nurse staffing and patient in care, including a number of studies providing data on nurse staffing and patient outcomes in Massachusetts hospitals; Ellen MacInnis, RN, an emergency department nurse at Steward St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center Jane Mulvey, RN  an oncology nurse at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford and Deb Beers, RN, a nurse on the medical surgical floor at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester. 

For the full text of the bill, or links to current research and information on this issue, email David Schildmeier at the MNA: