December 12, 2018

The Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts joins support of Patient Safety Act

Measure will protect patients and improve care in Massachusetts hospitals

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The Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts added their support to the growing list of organizations and committees to endorse An Act relative to patient safety and hospital transparency (the Patient Safety Act). The ballot measure will dramatically improve patient safety in Massachusetts hospitals by setting a safe maximum limit on the number of patients assigned to a nurse at one time, while providing flexibility to hospitals to adjust nurses’ patient assignments based on specific patient needs. The measure will be for voters’ consideration on the November 2018 ballot.

“The Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts are pleased to be in support of the Patient Safety Act, as we know firsthand the value of enforced limits to ensure resources are available to properly and safely perform our duties. We too fight to make sure our fire companies are safely staffed and equipped,” said Paul Jacques, Legislative Agent for the PFFM. “We are all potential patients, and this bill will make Massachusetts hospitals safer and its residents healthier. We gladly join the nurses in their struggle for safe staffing levels."

The Professional Firefighters of MA organizes all paid professional firefighters within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. They encourage the formation of local unions affiliated with the International Association of Fire Fighters. Listed below are activities that the organization promotes: placing the firefighters of the Commonwealth on a higher plane of skill and efficiency, promoting unionism among its members, assisting in the promotion and protection of legislation favorable to the interest of fire fighters, acting as a clearing house for all legislation introduced by any local, aiding and assisting its members in securing adequate compensation and just and sounding pension plans by the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the political subdivisions thereof.

The Committee to Ensure Safe Patient Care is a broad coalition united in support of the Patient Safety Act, advocating for stronger patient outcomes, and consistency and accountability in our hospitals. The coalition is made up of advocates across Massachusetts, including registered nurses, patients and family members, health and safety organizations, community groups, unions and elected officials. For a full list of endorsing organizations, please visit: https://safepatientlimits.org/who-we-are/.

Today, outside of acute care hospital intensive care units, there is no law that specifies how many patients a nurse can safely care for at one time. It is not uncommon for nurses in Massachusetts to have six or seven patients at one time, when a safe limit would be no more than four patients for a nurse on a typical medical/surgical floor. Numerous studies show that when nurses have safe patient assignments as proposed by the Patient Safety Act, patient readmissions, medical errors, infections and other complications are dramatically reduced, saving healthcare systems millions of dollars each year.

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