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Heywood Healthcare Thanks Community for Support on Ballot Question 1

November 19, 2018

Heywood Healthcare offers its sincere appreciation to all the communities in the North Central and North Quabbin regions, for their support in defeating Ballot Question 1 in this month’s election.

Ballot Question 1, which proposed rigid, government-enforced nurse to patient ratios, in all hospital units at all times, was defeated, with 70.4% of the voters voting “no” on the question. The city of Gardner along with several surrounding communities including the towns off Winchendon, Athol and Orange all reported “no” votes at higher than the state average; a resounding call of support for keeping access to local quality care.

Every hospital across the Commonwealth came out in strict opposition of Ballot Question 1, a stance reinforced by the Massachusetts Hospital Association, American Nurses Association and over 100 other statewide organizations. The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, through an independent study, estimated the implementation of these ratios would cost the state upwards of $900 million during the first year of implementation alone. Governor Charlie Baker also came out in strong opposition of the proposed ratios.

Several members of the Heywood Medical Staff, passionate about how the proposed ratios would have had a negative impact on access to care, especially in more rural regions, donated their time and expertise to help educate the communities we serve. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to Dr. John Harrington, Dr. James Faust, Dr. Ellen Ray, Dr. Beth Nottleson, Dr. Gretchen Kelly and Dr. Donald Mruk. Additionally, many long time nurses and hospital supporters shared publicly why they opposed Question 1 including Chris Baldini, Cheryl Fletcher, Ellie Goderre, James Meehan, Jeannie Sanborn and Joyce Fletcher.

Several community partners also publicly endorsed Heywood Healthcare’s opposition to Question 1 and the potential impact on the North Central and Quabbin regions including Wood’s Ambulance, GVNA Healthcare, Inc., CHNA 9, The Greater Gardner, North Quabbin and North Central Chambers of Commerce.

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About Athol Hospital
A member of the Heywood Healthcare system, Athol Hospital is a 25-bed non-profit, acute care and outpatient facility serving the communities of the North Quabbin region of Massachusetts. Athol Hospital’s services include 24/7 Emergency Care, Surgical Services, Oncology, Respiratory Therapy, Radiology and Laboratory, Diabetes Center and the Center for Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation. It is designated as a Critical Access Hospital and Primary Stroke Center, licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and accredited by the Joint Commission.

About Heywood Hospital
A member of the Heywood Healthcare system, Heywood Hospital is a 134-bed acute care hospital in Gardner, MA, providing a broad range of high quality medical, surgical, obstetrical, pediatric and behavioral health services on an inpatient and outpatient basis. The hospital’s Centers of Excellence include the Watkins Center for Emergency and Acute Care; the LaChance Maternity Center; the Diabetes Center and the Heywood Heart and Vascular Center, an affiliate of the Heart and Vascular Center at UMass Memorial Health Care.

About Heywood Healthcare
Heywood Healthcare is an independent, community-owned healthcare system serving north central Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. It is comprised of Heywood Hospital, a non-profit, 134-bed acute-care hospital in Gardner, MA; Athol Hospital, a 25-bed not-for-profit, Critical Access Hospital in Athol, MA; the Quabbin Retreat, a behavioral health and substance misuse treatment facility, in Petersham, MA; and Heywood Medical Group with primary care physicians and specialists located throughout the region. The organization includes four satellite facilities in MA; Heywood Rehabilitation Center and Heywood Urgent Care in Gardner; Winchendon Health Center and Murdock School-based Health Center in Winchendon; and the Heywood Charitable Foundation.

About Heywood Medical Group
Heywood Medical Group is a non-profit Physician Organization affiliated with Heywood Hospital with over 50 physicians and advanced practice providers specializing in Primary Care and Specialty Care. Our primary care physicians focus on Pediatrics and Family Practice. Our specialty care physicians focus on the areas of Cardiology, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Bariatrics, Gynecology/Obstetrics, Orthopedics, Pulmonology, Urology and General Surgery.
Heywood Medical group serves individuals and families in need of health care and works in coordination with Heywood Hospital to provide high-quality comprehensive care to everyone.