• Question 1: Supporters, opponents make their pleas for patient safety

    By: Kerry Kavanaugh

    Updated:

    Supporters and opponents of ballot Question 1 are turning up the heat as we get closer to Election Day. Question 1 would set legal limits on how many patients a nurse can care for at a given time. The nurse to patient ratios would vary depending on the type of care being delivered. 

    There are the yes's:

    "I am here to shed light on the true opponents of the question, the hospital executives," said Donna Kelly Williams, Mass. Nurses Association.

    And there are the no's:

    "I have such a concern about walking by my patients in a waiting room that I know need a bed," said Nicole Arnold, Mass. Emergency Nurse Association. 

    >> Question 1: Nurses, hospitals fighting over what both call patient safety

    The fight of Question 1 churned on in dueling news conferences Thursday.

    "The opposition is made up of hospital executives and corporate CEOs who are dumping millions of dollars into the campaign designed to confuse and scare the voters," said Richie Paris, Firefighter Union Leader. 

    A group of nurses and first responders in support of Question 1 - or in support of patient staffing limits - continued their argument that opposition to the limits comes from executives most concerned about the bottom line. 

    "Hospital executives also claim they can't afford to provide safe patient care when their hospitals are posting millions of dollars in profits every year," said Williams. 

    But opponents of Question 1 - a group that also included nurses and first responders say its the costs to the patients that will rise, along with wait times, particularly in emergency rooms, if patient staffing limits are approved.

    "This bill proposes rigid nurse ratios. Ratios that don't provide me or my coworkers any flexibility. In emergency medicine, that's what we solely rely on," said Arnold. 

    Health care facilities would face fines if they were found to be out of compliance with the ratios. It's estimated that an additional 3,100 nurses would need to be hired across the state to meet the guidelines. 

    MORE: Question 1: Massachusetts nurses say hospitals are deceiving voters

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