Nurses union petitions for increased financial disclosure, staffing laws

The foremost nurses union in Massachusetts is urging the Bay State to mandate increased financial disclosure by hospitals and limits on the salaries of top hospital executives, the Boston Globe reports.

The Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) last week delivered a petition, bearing more than 100,000 signatures, calling for a new financial disclosure law to Secretary of State William F. Galvin, according to the Globe. The proposed law aims to alleviate the gap between the richest and poorest hospitals in Massachusetts, according to the MNA.

The proposed law would require hospitals to:

  • Disclose all funds in offshore accounts;

  • Limit chief executive pay to 100 times that of the lowest-paid employee; and

  • Deposit "excess profits" in a relief fund for financially troubled hospitals in underserved areas.

"We're trying to make sure people know how much money some of these hospitals really have and make sure they're using the money to provide health services rather than build up big corporate networks, hoard their profits, and pay their CEOs a lot of money," MNA spokesman David Schildmeier told the Globe.

The union also submitted a second petition to Galvin's office creating mandatory nurse-to-patient ratios. The two petitions are the union's first attempt at campaigning for legislation meant to protect nurses and patients, according to the Globe.

The Massachusetts Hospital Association (MHA) has announced its opposition to the proposal, calling the provisions "arbitrary limits on hospital operating margins and compensation," according to the article. Massachusetts hospitals already disclose extensive data on their finances to the state, MHA President Lynn Nicholas told the Globe, making the proposal unnecessary and excessive.

"It's really naive to think patients would be well-served in the long run by placing mandated limits on market-based compensation for hospital CEOs," said Nicholas. "It would erode the capable leadership we have at the Commonwealth's hospitals."

A May study indicated there is a direct correlation between nursing staff ratios and pediatric hospital readmissions, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

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