Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Boston Announces Devastating Impacts of Ballot Question One

BOSTON, MA – September 12, 2018 – Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Boston today announced the negative impacts mandated nurse staffing ratios would have on their viability and their capability to provide safe, quality care to patients across the region. Slated to be Question 1 on the ballot this November, these rigid staffing ratios will devastate community hospitals and behavioral health facilities across Massachusetts.

“The care we provide is specialized and unique, and cannot be determined with a government mandated number,” said Mary Beth DiFilippo, Director of Nursing at Spaulding Boston. “The nurses who are here every day understand what our patients needs are and the best way to care for them. This ballot question will not allow our teams to provide the high-quality care Massachusetts hospitals are known for.”

The enormous costs associated with the nurse staffing ballot question will set Spaulding Boston back $4.6 million, resulting in major cuts to community health programs. According to an independent study by MassInsight and BW Research Partners, the ballot question will cost the Massachusetts health system $1.3 billion in the first year, and $900 million every year thereafter.

The ballot question would require that hospitals across the state, no matter their size or specific needs of their patients, to adhere to the same rigid nurse staffing ratios within all patient care areas at all times. The petition does not make allowances for rehabilitation hospitals, holding them to the same staffing ratios as major Boston teaching hospitals.

“Making decisions based on my patients’ individual needs and knowing them on a personal level is why nurses at Spaulding Boston are so successful,” said Mickalya Guanci, Registered Nurse at Spaulding Boston. “We are a tight knit community who rely on each other for support. Question 1 would strip me of my ability to collaborate with my fellow nurses to provide the best care possible.”

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.

“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.”

About the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Founded in 1971, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston is one of the largest rehabilitation facilities in the United States, and is ranked the 2nd highest rehabilitation hospital in the country by U.S. News & World Report. As the official teaching hospital of the Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), Spaulding is at the forefront of research in advances in rehabilitative care. Spaulding’s main campus is a 132-bed facility in Charlestown which is a national model for environmental and inclusive design. With a wide range of inpatient programs and 25 outpatient centers throughout Eastern Massachusetts, Spaulding strives to continually update and improve its programs to offer patients the latest, high-quality care through its leading, expert providers. Spaulding has been awarded a Model Systems designation in three specialty areas- Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury and Burn Injury Rehabilitation- by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research. For more information, please visit www.spauldingrehab.org

Media Contacts

For media inquiries, please contact the Spaulding Communications Department at (617) 952-5325 or by email