Cape Cod Hospital and Falmouth Hospital Emergency Departments to Suffer Under Question 1

Filed Under: Other News

HYANNIS, MA – October 10, 2018 – Cape Cod Healthcare echoed today their opposition to mandated nurse staffing ratios, citing the devastating impacts these rigid government requirements would have on their ability to provide emergency care to patients. Slated to be Question 1 on the ballot this November, these unnecessary and unfounded staffing requirements will dramatically increase emergency room wait times and delay life-saving services in hospitals across the state.
“To meet the mandated ratios, both Cape Cod Healthcare emergency departments would have to reduce our current ability to care for emergency patients. Cape Cod Hospital specifically could see a 44% reduction in care,” said Nate Rudman, MD, medical director of the Cape Cod Hospital Emergency Center. “This would result in prolonged waits for emergency care that we as a system have worked hard over the years to eliminate.”
The enormous costs and operational hurdles associated with the nurse staffing ballot question will cost Cape Cod Healthcare $34.2M per year – $24.2M to implement at Cape Cod Hospital and $10M to implement at Falmouth Hospital – and will translate to severely negative impacts in emergency departments. Wait times in the emergency room will dramatically increase, causing delayed services throughout the hospital, including those that are time-sensitive and life-saving. Question 1 will limit capacity across the Cape Cod Healthcare system. On average, 96 Cape Cod Hospital patients would wait indefinitely each day for emergency care, in addition to the 17 Falmouth Hospital patients who would wait indefinitely for emergency care treatment.
There are no exceptions to this mandate, even in the event of an unexpected influx of patients – such as a multi-car crash or large fire. According to an independent study by MassInsight and BW Research Partners, mandated nursing staffing requirements would exacerbate the current nursing shortage, which is currently highest in Psychiatric units (7.8%) and in Emergency Departments (7.5%).
The ballot question 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 rural or small community hospitals, holding them to the same staffing ratios as major Boston teaching hospitals.
“This initiative will threaten access to safe patient care, especially in our emergency rooms,” said Michael J. Rest, MD, emergency medicine physician at Falmouth Hospital. “There’s a real chance that hospitals, like ours, will need to close beds, units and services to comply with the law, which in turn will negatively impact ER wait times and force our staff to care for only the truly sickest of patients.”
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.
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 Cape Cod Healthcare. Visit our health news site for the latest in relevant and credible healthcare news.

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