BOSTON, MA – When Massachusetts voters head to the polls next week, the first question they will face is whether or not to initiate mandatory nurse:patient ratios. It’s literally called “Question 1” because apparently proposition 1 and issue 1 were taken.
The measure proposed would mandate rigid maximum nurse to staff ratios in all hospitals across the state without any regard for actual patient care needs and those changes would be in effect by January 1, 2019 or hospitals would face a $25,000 fine per incident where the ratios were not followed. Critics say the measure would skyrocket healthcare costs, force the closure of multiple hospitals across the state and cost an additional $1 Billion a year, $100 million of which would come directly from taxpayers. (Not satire)
Supporters of the measure insist “The Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) is struggling to make ends meet. Only through forcing the hiring of 6,000 nurses with an unproven mandate on nursing staff ratios and raising health care costs by a billion or more a year can we ensure that we finally make up for the 75% of Nurses not paying us dues” MNA President Donna Kelly-Williams said.
“We charge our members between $70 and $90 a month which comes out to $840-$1080 a year to convince them we’re representing them while providing pretty minimal actual value. There are about 130,000 RN’s in Massachusetts, so we should be getting us at least $117million a year in dues! Unfortunately, only 25% of nurses give us their hard earned money in dues so we’re barely hitting $30 million in dues a year! That’s barely a million each for our Board of Directors and our Regional Directors!” Kelly-Williams continued.
“I know there is no data, research or any scientific evidence that the proposed staffing ratios work or provide any measurable improvement in patient care. That’s why we need to pass this law, so we can find out if it makes a difference! $1 billion a year in new spending and losing a few small hospitals are a small price to pay to determine if there actually is a problem and if this rushed idea fixes the problem that we don’t know if we have.”
“Our eventual goal is a 3 Nurse per patient ratio mandated across the state. How could anything bad ever happen to any patient if there are 3 nurses watching them at a time? We’d have 1 nurse for meds, 1 nurse for vitals and another nurse to do all the other nursey stuff that I haven’t done in 25 years plus a few rotating nurses to give the other nurses breaks.” Kelly-Williams rambled on.
RN Kelly-Williams continued “The point isn’t ‘Will this be better for patients or will it cost $1Billion a year? Those answers are probably not and yes. The point is that the MNA needs more money, we can’t raise dues without alienating the remaining 25% of nurses who haven’t left us already and the only good option is force more nursing hiring and to implement it in 55 days hoping the news nurses actually join the MNA.”
When asked why the Mass Chapter of the American Nursing Association opposes the measure, Kelly-Williams was dismissive, “They charge less than half of what we do for dues, probably don’t waste all their members’ dues money on misguided political ventures and they actually believe in doing research before implementing radical potentially catastrophic changes. In short, they’re weirdos.”
“Where is a state already facing a nursing shortage going to find an additional 6,000 nurses in 55 days? Great question, but they should and they should encourage them to join the MNA and pay us dues!”