Letter to the Editor - Proposal by the Maine State Nurses Association

I would like to respond to the proposal going to the state legislature that is supported by the Maine State Nurses Association (MSNA).

  This proposal would require hospitals that need to discontinue major services must conduct an impact study and allow a series of public forums on the changes in service. So basically, the hospital would need approval to make these changes that the hospital has determined would likely be a contributing factor in the hospital becoming financially less stable or shut down altogether?

You have got to be kidding!

The administration of the hospital deals daily with declining reimbursements, increasing regulation, and increasing numbers of patients that cannot or will not have the ability to pay for their care. The administration has made the difficult and researched decision to close a service because of declining usage of the service along with the costs to continue the service. This is done to preserve the core services of the hospital so it can remain an important part of the community.

Indeed, the public does need to know about important changes. What will the public forums offer of value other than to inform the public of the forth-coming change in service?  Will there be discussion and perhaps even negotiation of whether or not this change in service is to happen? How long does the public forum period last given that the hospital is losing money on this service every day? Some hospitals may not survive the public forum period.

I  also find it interesting that the Maine State Nurses Association is so supportive of trying to get this passed through the legislature. In reference to the closing of OB in Calais, no nursing positions were lost or reduced, none! So why does an out of state entity like the Maine State Nurses Association feel they need to have a stake in this? Perhaps because they advertise and forum against any changes in service that small hospitals want to make and the changes are realized anyway. So lets just try to use back door legislation to try and stop small hospitals from trying to survive!

At the end of the day, the Maine State Nurses Association is lobbying to stop a hospital from trying to become financially more stable, for all staff including nurses, who belong to the union.

I suspect that since the hospital management company Quorum, is involved with some of these hospitals, the Maine State Nurses Association does not like to be dictated to on services from any other management operation.

Let the educated and experienced persons that run these hospitals make the right decisions for financial direction and the future. The Maine State Nurses Association needs to stay out of it!

Steven A. Welsch RRT.