(Hyannis, September 12, 2018) – Cape Cod Healthcare today announced the negative impacts mandated nurse staffing ratios would have on Cape Cod Hospital’s and Falmouth Hospital’s viability and capability to provide safe, quality care to patients on Cape Cod. Slated to be Question 1 on the ballot this November, these rigid staffing ratios would devastate smaller hospitals and behavioral health facilities across Massachusetts. “The enormous costs associated with Question 1 would translate to Cape Cod Healthcare in added expenses of $34.2 million every year, resulting in department and bed closures, and would require us to hire and train 250 new nurses,” said Michael K. Lauf, president and CEO of Cape Cod Healthcare. “More importantly, access to care would be curtailed for services such as emergency care, and our ability to continue key programs that have differentiated us on the Cape – like innovative behavioral health and addiction programs – would be jeopardized. We would be forced to make some extremely tough decisions, if this ballot question passed.” Emergency department wait times would increase dramatically as hospitals struggle to comply with rigid ratios. According to an independent study by MassInsight and BW Research Partners, the mandate would cost the Massachusetts healthcare system $1.3 billion in the first year, and $900 million every year thereafter. Question 1 would require that hospitals across the state, no matter their size or specific needs of their patients, adhere to the same rigid nurse staffing ratios within all patient care areas at all times. The petition does not make allowances for hospitals of different sizes and scope, holding them all to the same staffing ratios. “We at Cape Cod Healthcare feel strongly that the best patient care decisions should be made by a comprehensive clinical team involving nurses and physicians,” said Lauf. In order to meet the new ratios, the hospitals would be forced to increase RN salaries, since all providers will be competing for a finite pool of talent. This would then drain RNs from nursing homes, doctors’ office and other healthcare settings, and force the closure of some critical programs. “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.” Question 1 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. Cape Cod Healthcare is the leading provider of healthcare services for residents and visitors of Cape Cod. With more than 450 physicians, 5,300 employees and 790 volunteers, Cape Cod Healthcare has two acute care hospitals, the Cape’s leading provider of homecare and hospice services (VNA), a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility, an assisted living facility, and numerous health programs. For more information, visit Cape Cod Healthcare’s web site at www.capecodhealth.org. Cape Cod Healthcare. Visit our health news site www.capecodhealthnews.com for the latest in relevant and credible healthcare news.