Information on MHA Web Site: Latest Ploy to Avoid Safe RN-to-Patient
Do Nothing to Protect Patients from Dangerous Conditions
information on the Massachusetts Hospital Association's Web site—which
claims to disclose hospital staffing plans—will do nothing
to protect patients or improve deteriorating patient care conditions
in the state's acute care hospitals.
information provided on the site is of no value to the consumer—at
best it is confusing, if not deliberately misleading. There is no
way the consumer can make sense of the information provided, and
even if they could, there is no way to know if the staffing levels
presented are safe and appropriate. Nor is there any guarantee that
the staffing level listed in the plan will match the care patients
deserve a guaranteed standard of care, they don't need information
on a Web site. The site does make clear the wide variability in
staffing across hospitals and clearly demonstrates that patients
with the same conditions will receive dramatically different levels
of care depending on the hospital they go to. We believe this is
unacceptable and it is the main reason nurses in Massachusetts,
along with 103 leading health advocacy groups, are supporting legislation,
H. 2663, to create a safe limit on the number of patients a nurse
is assigned, no matter where patients receive care.
fact is in most cases, patients have little choice or say about
the hospital they visit. In many parts of the state, there is only
one hospital available (like on Cape Cod). In an emergency, your
ambulance determines where you go for care. In most health plans,
hospital choice is also limited. For this reason, it is vital that
every patient, wherever they receive care, should have access to
a safe standard of care.
introduction of this information is part of the hospital industry’s
glitzy PR campaign to give the illusion of improving quality, while
they are actually doing nothing to fix the root cause of the problem—providing
a safe limit on the number of patients a nurse is assigned.
fact is that patients in Massachusetts hospitals are suffering poor
care, longer stays and needless complications because too many hospitals
are forcing nurses to care for too many patients at once. The Department
of Public Health last summer reported a 60 percent increase in patient
complaints, injuries and medication errors for Massachusetts hospitals
over the last five years. A survey of past patients in Massachusetts
hospitals conducted last March found that 1 in 4 reported their
safety was compromised due to their nurse having too many patients
to care for. Nurses believe patients deserve better.
daycare industry doesn't have a Web site where parents can find
the child-to-caregiver ratio at different daycare centers. It's
not necessary because there is a good law in place that requires
a safe staffing standard for all daycare providers. Patients in
hospitals deserve the same type of safety standard.
legislators debate the issue, recent reports have shown that the
hospital industry has earned nearly a billion dollars in profits
over the last year. Another study just published in the journal
Health Affairs shows that an investment in safe staffing limits
will pay for itself in lives saved, shorter stays and millions of
dollars in savings from the prevention of negative patient outcomes.
The MHA Web
site is: www.patientsfirstma.org