July 18, 2018

September deliberations set for nursing staffing ballot question

Twenty citizen panelists will participate in four days of deliberations on a 2018 ballot question calling for mandatory nurse staffing ratios, a measure that proponents say is essential to patient safety.

The Citizens' Initiative Review Advisory Board on Tuesday announced that Question 1 will be the subject of this year's review, which will lead to a statement outlining findings and strongest arguments for and against the proposal.

"As several board members stated, the outcome of Question 1 is likely to affect every resident of the state as consumers of health care. Moreover, it involves many complicated, technical questions that merit the kind of in-depth analysis that CIR permits," Rep. Jonathan Hecht said in a statement of the advisory board.

Meryl Kessler, one of the advisory board members who voted to review Question 1, said the review will help voters make informed decisions by providing "clear, dispassionate information about this complicated and technical issue."

Opponents of the measure say it will increase health care costs and rob hospital administrators of the discretion to assign nurses based on fluctuating conditions.

The citizen panel plans to convene for public deliberations from Sept. 12-15 at the Watertown Public Library.

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