Question 1: Massachusetts nurses say hospitals are deceiving voters

Question 1: Massachusetts nurses say hospitals are deceiving voters

BOSTON — Thousands of nurses say the hospitals they work for are deceiving voters on the Question 1 ballot issue this fall.

Some of those nurses protested ads they say inaccurately depict nurses at a rally outside Partners HealthCare in Somerville Tuesday.

Partners HealthCare is part of a group called the Coalition to Protect Public Safety and they say this boils down to a union issue and nurses trying to secure more jobs, while nurses say it's not about them, it's about the patients.

Content Continues Below

"If you really want to know who supports yes on question one. It's us," said nurse Donna Kelly-Williams.

Standing in the shadow of Partners HealthCare, Donna Kelly-Williams rallied with her fellow nurses, some of the 23,000 members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association.

For years, they've been fighting for what's now called the Patient Safety Act, which voters will decide in November. It would set a standard ratio in hospitals of the maximum number of patients to be assigned at all times to a registered nurse.

"They should have a limit of no more than four patients, I’ve heard from nurses that are having upwards of 10 at one time," said nurse Donna Kelly-Williams.

Voting yes on question one would ensure the staffing standards, but these nurses say Partners HealthCare, which includes Brigham and Women's, Mass General, Mass Eye and Ear and Spaulding is part of a group putting out misleading ads.

"When the ads came out, they're confusing to people," said Kelly-Williams.

Kelly-Williams says the nurses in the ads are actually nurse managers, hospital executives who are more interested in the bottom line.

"They represent a great deal of the opposition and somebody who has chosen to invest in buildings like this and not necessarily in their patients all the time," she said.

Partners HealthCare referred Boston 25 News to the Coalition to Protect Patient Safety who said in a statement:

"The best and safest patient care is when staffing decisions are made in real time... not by union leaders and rigid government mandates."

Critics of the Patient Safety Act also say it will increase wait times in the emergency room and raise patient premiums and deductibles, but these nurses say the hospitals need to invest in their patients.

"But at what point do you put on human life and being able to safely care for patients," said Kelly-Williams.