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CANTON, Mass. – In response to deteriorating patient-care conditions in the state’s acute-care hospitals, the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United announced last week that it is filing a ballot initiative, the Patient Safety Act.
The ballot initiative seeks to dramatically improve patient safety in Massachusetts hospitals by setting a safe maximum limit on the number of patients assigned to a nurse at one time, while also requiring hospitals to adjust nurses’ patient assignments based on the specific needs of the patients.
The filing of the initiative follows the release of dozens of prominent research studies and reports that show the need to set a maximum limit on the number of patients that can be assigned to each registered nurse in order to avoid mistakes, serious complications and preventable readmissions, the news release said.
While the nurses association has filed a companion bill in the legislature on this issue, the organization is pursuing a dual track by keeping the option open to take the issue directly to public via a ballot initiative should the Legislature not act. •