Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce




Maura Tobias, Specialist, Public Affairs and Community Relations
Baystate Health
413-568-2811 x.5184 (office) 413-575-5397(cell)

Government mandated nurse staffing ratios would force hundreds of patients to travel further for care each year

WESTFIELD, MA – September 12, 2018 – Baystate Noble Hospital today announced the negative impacts mandated nurse staffing ratios would have on their viability and their capability to provide safe, quality care to patients in the region. Slated to be Question 1 on the ballot this November, these rigid staffing ratios will devastate smaller hospitals and behavioral health facilities across Massachusetts.

“Small, community hospitals will be hit especially hard by Question 1,” said Michele Urban, RN, MSN, Chief Nursing Officer, Chief Administrative Officer, Baystate Noble Hospital. “Hundreds of our patients will have to go elsewhere for care because of the impact this ballot question will have on our emergency services, medical and mental health care. Our region’s most vulnerable patients deserve better.”

The enormous costs associated with the nurse staffing ballot question will devastate Baystate Noble Hospital, resulting in bed closures that will deter access to care for patients in the region seeking emergency, rehabilitation or mental health care. Specifically, analysis by Baystate Noble Hospital has concluded that if Question 1 were to pass, that access to care would be dramatically obstructed by these rigid staffing requirements.  The medical center anticipates widespread impact to emergency services, hospital admission for both medical and mental health care, including:

  • 30% fewer emergency visits; more than 20 patients each and every day would not have access to emergency services or experience extensive delays in the ER waiting room.
  • 20% fewer rehab beds; nearly 140 patients would not receive rehabilitation services at Baystate Noble Hospital annually.
  • 47% fewer patients in mental health crisis would be treated; each year more than 300 patients in need of a mental health hospitalization would experience extensive delays in treatment and wait in the emergency room for beds to become available

The ballot question would require that hospitals across the state, no matter their size or specific needs of their patients, to adhere to the same rigid nurse staffing ratios within all patient care areas at all times. The petition does not make allowances for rural or small community hospitals, holding them to the same staffing ratios as major Boston teaching hospitals.

According to an independent study by MassInsight and BW Research Partners, Question 1 will cost Massachusetts’ health care system $1.3 billion in the first year, and $900 million every year thereafter. This cost will impact access to care in every hospital across the Commonwealth, but will hit community hospitals especially hard.

“Within a behavioral health unit, we rely on multidisciplinary teams of nurses, social workers, and mental health counselors who work together to provide the best possible care for our patients,” said Molly Moody, an RN at Baystate Noble. “Nurse staffing ratios would limit the ability of these teams to adapt their strategies to meet the unique needs of each patient. It discredits nurses’ judgement and removes nurses from collaborative leadership roles.”

The ballot question is opposed by the American Nurses Association - Massachusetts, Emergency Nurses Association - Massachusetts Chapter, Organization of Nurse Leaders, Infusion Nurses Society, Massachusetts Association of Colleges of Nursing,  Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses’ Greater Boston Chapter, the Western Massachusetts Nursing Collaborative, the Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians, the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, the Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals, the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals, and other healthcare and business leaders across the state.

“There are no scientific studies or reports that demonstrate the effectiveness of government mandated, one-size-fits-all nurse staffing ratio for improving quality of care, patient outcomes or professional nursing practice." said Donna Glynn, President of the American Nurses Association and a Nurse Scientist for the VA Boston Healthcare System. “In fact, no studies evaluating nurse staffing ratios reported a magic number as the single factor to affect patient outcomes or job satisfaction. This ballot question is ignoring scientific fact around what is best for nursing practice, decision making and quality patient care.”

About Baystate Health:

Baystate Health is a not-for-profit integrated healthcare system serving over 800,000 people throughout western Massachusetts. Nationally recognized as a leader in healthcare quality and safety, Baystate Health has more than 12,000 employees and serves a diverse population of patients at its teaching hospital, Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, as well as at Baystate Children’s Hospital, its three community hospitals, several urban health centers, home care and hospice services, and a network of over 80 medical practices. A leader in medical education for more than a century, Baystate Health recently established a new regional campus of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the first medical school campus in western Massachusetts. For more information on Baystate Health, visit


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