Vote Yes On Question 1 For Safe Patient Limits

Vote Yes On Question 1 For Safe Patient Limits
MNA President and Mass Retirees Member Donna Kelly-Williams

Retirees Support Safe Patient Limits

Few, if any, ballot questions in recent memory have brought about more confusion than Question 1. Mass Retirees supports Yes on 1 and hopes to bring clarity to the issue.

Brought to the ballot by the Mass Nurses Association (MNA) for direct action by voters, Question 1 seeks to establish Safe Patient Limits in Massachusetts hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Simply put, it would establish the maximum number of patients assigned to a single nurse at a given time.

The 22,000-member MNA collected the thousands of signatures needed to bring Safe Patient Limits to the November 6th Ballot after nearly 20 years of trying to resolve the issue by collective bargaining and through the legislative process on Beacon Hill.

Mass Retirees stands with the MNA and supports Yes on 1, because we share the concern that our bedside nurses are spread too thin and assigned too many patients at once. This not only has a negative impact on the quality of care for retirees, but can also put our members in danger. Multiple independent studies find that Safe Patient Limits lead to better healthcare. This means increased patient safety, better and safer working environments for nurses and positive medical outcomes. Better medical outcomes result in shorter hospital stays, faster recovery, and fewer readmissions – all of which are proven to lower healthcare costs.

As we do with each and every issue, we have studied the facts. We’re aware of the pros and cons, as well as the reasons being put forth by the hospitals and their allies in opposition. We are unconvinced by those asking voters to vote no and here’s why:

  1. The majority of Massachusetts nurses support safe patient limits. Question 1 is on the ballot due to the efforts of the 22,000 nurses belonging to the MNA, who collected the signatures and did the work required to bring the issue directly before voters.
  2. Arguments citing financial constraints on hospitals ring hollow. Healthcare in Massachusetts is big business. Whether not-for-profit or for profit, the wealth and assets of our hospital systems continues to grow. Top executives make millions; cash reserves grow, while hospital systems continue to expand inside and outside of the state opening new facilities and businesses.
  3. Fear tactics being used to frighten voters into voting no should have grown tired after decades of overuse. We’ve seen these same false arguments predicting widespread layoffs and financial ruin used in the past. They are often used by big business in support of tax cuts, deregulation and against all attempts at leveling the playing field. And these are the same arguments made to reject retiree benefit increases, as well as to justify cuts to retiree health insurance plans. We don’t buy it, because it never proves to be true!
  4. Hospitals claim a Yes vote represents a “government takeover” of healthcare. We disagree. By bringing Safe Patient Limits to the ballot, nurses are asking voters to have a direct say in the quality and safety of healthcare in Massachusetts.
  5. It is our view that the Vote No committee has waged a deceptive campaign designed to mislead and confuse voters. The campaign, which is funded by millions in donations by hospital executives, has purposely distorted the issue by using manipulative advertising techniques and misinformation. Mass Retirees has faced similar attacks in the past relative to COLA benefits and retiree healthcare. We will not be silent when those same tactics are employed here.

In short, Mass Retirees believes that Safe Patient Limits are good for retirees and will prove to be good for Massachusetts. We ask our members to strongly consider Voting Yes on Question 1. For those members seeking further information, please visit for access to information and independent studies on Safe Patient Limits.

Retirees seeking specific information directly related to Question 1 can find it, here.