Dear Friends of Heywood Healthcare,
It is a pleasure to share an update with regarding the exciting projects underway at Heywood Healthcare, all working to improve the access to healthcare services within the North Central and North Quabbin regions.
In addition, it is imperative that I share with you the most critical challenge in healthcare that your community-owned health system is facing and to ask for your support – the upcoming ballot initiative to mandate nursing staff ratios, if passed, has the potential to ultimately unravel the incredible breadth and depth of care we have woven together to serve you, our patients..
At first glance, the idea of mandating more nurses around the clock at Heywood and Athol Hospitals seems positive. However, this ballot initiative will have immediate and long lasting negative consequences on how we deliver care, both statewide and in our region.
We know that providing quality care requires the ability to make quick decisions with other care team members on what is best for each patient, at any given moment. This ballot initiative would take that decision-making power away from the nurses, doctors and other support staff, replacing it with a one-size-fits-all government mandate. Patient care is not cookie cutter. It takes teamwork, compassion and flexibility.
How could this affect you? You’ll see higher insurance premiums while access to local care is reduced. You’ll see cuts to staffing and services at your local hospitals. Patients will endure longer wait times for needed services. Community benefit programs like the Weekend Backpack Food Program, School-Based Health Services and Care Coordination in our Emergency Rooms will no longer have the needed funding. Hospital-based services will be reduced or eliminated. In short, your access to care will be greatly diminished.
In California, the only state to adopt mandated nurse-to-patient ratios, community hospitals have closed at twice the rate of those in other states. Massachusetts far exceeds California in quality measures including infection rates, patient safety indicators and patient satisfaction. Keeping community hospitals strong benefits everyone, most importantly, our patients.
It is our honor and privilege to provide you and your family with quality care, close to home. Don't let the state legislate YOUR care. Vote no on #1.
Thank you for taking a moment to read A Healthy You. If you have any questions or concerns, please email me at President@heywood.org.
Yours in Good Health,
Winfield S. Brown, BA, MSB, MHA, FACHE
President & CEO