State Rep. Dan Ryan and the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) held a rally and luncheon at the Ferris Street apartments on Tuesday afternoon ahead of the early voting day in the Harvard-Kent.
Ryan said he is firmly behind the ‘Yes’ vote to mandate staffing levels in hospitals and medical care facilities across the Commonwealth.
“I am solidly Yes on 1,” he said on Tuesday. “I know there is a lot of confusion surrounding this ballot question. I don’t pretend to understand the intricacies of health care finance and hospital staffing. However, strip all the industry jargon away. The very core of this issue is advocacy for front line workers who are looking for a voice when negotiating with management. Bedside nurses deserve that voice.”
Nurse Ellen MacInnis, who works in the emergency room at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, spoke to the seniors at Ferris Street to tell them about her frustrations from working on the front lines.
“I am voting ‘yes’ on 1 because I think it’s what is best for patients,” she said. “We know the fewer patients a nurse has to care for, the better care patients will receive. There is plenty of research that shows the longer the time spent in the ER, the longer the inpatient stay will be. There is a $1.1 billion surplus in health care dollars in Massachusetts right now. It think they should be allocated to safe patient care.
“CEOs and hospital presidents in Massachusetts received double digit wage increases,” she continued. “I think that money would go to safe patient care and hospital presidents and administrators should be earning that money.”
She explained that already there are limits on patient care in ICU’s per a law passed two years ago – a law she says did not break the bank. She said that should be extended to other areas of medical care too.
Ryan said television ads have been misleading, and one should not look at them for guidance.
“Contrary to some of the TV ads, a ballot question posed to the voters is not a government mandate,” he said. “In fact, if passed by the electorate it is the exact opposite of a government mandate. A ‘Yes’ vote puts those decisions in the voters hands rather than the hospitals and insurance companies. I also find it either interesting or even alarming, that an industry that claims to be predominantly non-profit, and reports losses, has $20 million on hand to defeat this. That’s more money than the casino industry spent on a ballot question.”