Nurse Staffing Ratios May Be Coming to a Hospital Near You

nurse station

On November 6, 2018, when Massachusetts voters go to the polls to select a new Governor and other key elected officers, they will also consider Ballot Question 1, which will mandate rigid registered nurse staffing ratios for hospitals across the Commonwealth effective as of January 1, 2019. This proposal would make Massachusetts the second state in the United States to have specific staffing ratios mandated in all units. This initiative follows only California, which passed a less comprehensive law through the legislative process in 1999 and provided over five (5) years for hospitals to implement by 2004.[1] The Massachusetts ballot initiative process, like that of some other states, allows the voters to write entirely new law into books. Question 1 appears to be the most heavily-fought ballot initiative in Massachusetts in recent memory. While Massachusetts seems to be the only state this year with a nurse staffing ratio as a referendum ballot initiative,[2] unions nationally will focus on the results of this year’s effort.

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Health Care Policy Happenings - October 1 - 5, 2018

Public Affairs

In case you missed it, here are some key health care policy headlines from the past week.

Congress

Legislation and Committee Activity

Alexander: Senate Sends Opioids Legislation Called “Landmark” by Leader McConnell  to President – On Wednesday, the U.S.  Senate passed by a vote of 98-1, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, sponsored by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has called the bill, which is now heading to the President’s desk for his signature to become law, “landmark” opioids legislation. Read More

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Refusing to Hire Medical Marijuana User Puts Employer in Jeopardy

Nursing Home

The following is a wake-up call to all employers, especially those in the health care industry, that have adopted “zero tolerance policies.” These policies will increasingly butt up against the tidal wave of laws legalizing the medical and recreational use of marijuana.  In a just-decided case, a federal judge in Connecticut issued a ruling in favor of a medical marijuana user whose offer of employment at a nursing home was rescinded after she tested positive for marijuana.

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Health Care Policy Happenings - September 17-21, 2018

Here are some key health care policy headlines from the past week that you may have missed.

Congress

Legislation and Committee Activity

Bloomberg: Opioids Compromise Already in the Works in Congress – Congress is working on a compromise package of bills to fight the opioid crisis and hopes to finish voting on it in the next two weeks. The Senate and House began working on the compromise before the Senate passed its package  on Sept. 17, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said. They aim to have the package ready by Sept. 21, he said. Read More

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Health Care Policy Happenings - September 4-7

Congress is back in session after the August recess and, as expected, a flurry of activity took place.  Here are some key health care policy headlines from the past week that you may have missed.

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