Mass. hospitals, nurses spar over ballot question

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts hospitals are facing off against the state's top nurses' union over a ballot question that would set nurse-patient ratios.

Massachusetts Hospital Association President Lynn Nicholas told the Health Care Financing Committee on Monday that patients in Massachusetts already receive among the highest quality of care in the nation and that more nurses won't guarantee improved care.

She also warned against government taking away the ability of hospital nurses and care teams to decide the level of care each patient needs.

The Massachusetts Nurses Association said the question will improve patient safety by setting what they call "safe, realistic and prudent" standards for the maximum number of patients that can be safely cared for by hospital nurses at any one time.

The union is pushing to get the question on the November ballot.

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