Why I'm Voting No on Question 1

Author

Jason Tracy, MD

Jason Tracy, MD, Chair of Emergency Medicine

This emergency medicine physician is voting NO on ballot question 1.

I have been an emergency medicine physician for more than 15 years and I am currently the Chief of Emergency Medicine at South Shore Hospital. Our department is one of the largest emergency departments in the state. I am also a Scituate resident that uses South Shore Hospital for our family’s healthcare needs. To me, South Shore Hospital is much more than a workplace.

The passage of ballot question one would have a devastating impact on the services provided at our hospital.

The staggering costs outlined in the independent Health Policy Commission cost analysis (between $676 million to $949 million) did NOT include the additional costs required to meet the mandated staffing ratios in emergency departments. That’s estimated to be an additional $162 million.

For our department alone, this would be $16.3 million. Essential services that we’ve spent decades building for our community would have to be eliminated. Care won’t be delivered locally – our non-profit charity will no longer be able to provide the services our emergency department patients depend upon every hour of every day. Here are just some of the effects we would see if Question 1 passes.

Question 1 and South Shore Hospital ED

Emergency department nurses are an essential part of a comprehensive care team. I, like everyone else, would welcome 121 additional nurses (the number we would need to add) to our team. Is the loss of technicians, nursing assistants, pharmacists, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, phlebotomists, respiratory therapists, case managers, unit coordinators, transporters, security staff, social workers and all the other staff that help care for emergency department patients worth it?

It’s not. Research out of California (the only other state that’s attempted mandatory ratios) indicates that patient care will not improve. Healthcare costs (our insurance premiums) will increase. Wait times will increase. Ambulances will “hold the wall.”  Admitted patients won’t have a bed to go to. Access to specialty addiction and behavioral health services will decrease. Patient care will suffer. 

Please join me in voting NO to ballot question 1 on November 6th.

Get the facts on Question 1 from the Coalition to Protect Patient Safety.