This ballot measure will require hospitals to be transparent about their financial holdings, to limit exorbitant CEO salaries and excessive profits to protect services for communities in need of those services. Help us support this measure by 1) downloading the petition and 2) gethering signatures of registered voters from your community.
Isn't it time for TRANSPARENCY in how our tax dollars are bring spent?
Download the petition today, sign it, and mail it to MNA office at 340 Turnpike Street, Canton, MA 02021. Please note: The petition must be printed using black ink on 8 1/2 x 11 and both sides of the petition have to be copied back-to-back. You cannot print out the two sides and then staple them together. No color paper or perforated paper with notebook holes will be accepted. Signatures must be from registered voters and must be on the right petition form for that town. Registered voters from different towns/cities have to be on separate sheets with the town indicated on the bottom or top of the form.
Background: The MNA, through the Attorney General's office, recently certified a ballot initiative that will require hospitals to be transparent about their financial holdings and other activities, to limit CEO salaries and to limit and claw back excess profits to ensure that taxpayer dollars are dedicated exclusively to safe patient care and necessary services for all communities in the Commonwealth.
This measure has been proposed to respond to dramatic changes within the hospital industry driven by state and national health care reform, including the merger, consolidation and conversion of non-profit hospitals into larger multi-million dollar corporate networks. In 2010, Attorney General Martha Coakley released a report raising concerns about this trend and pinpointing the main driver of the Commonwealth’s increasing health costs – market clout of highest paid providers – at the expense of smaller community hospitals.
“Every hospital, whether it's non profit or for profit, gets a substantial amount of money from public funds -- i.e., the taxpayers via Medicare and Medicaid -- to provide health care for the residents of the Commonwealth, yet there is no way for the public and policy makers to accurately understand how those taxpayer dollars are being allocated,” said Julie Pinkham, RN, executive director of MNA/NNU. “This initiative is needed to ensure that the public and the communities served by these hospitals have a clear picture of the financial health of the hospitals that serve their needs. Furthermore, it will serve to ensure that patients are getting the care they need with the resources that are available to these hospital administrators.”
The Attorney General’s certification was a critical step in the process. This approval indicates that the initiative has passed constitutional standards and thresholds and can now be brought to the voters in November of 2014.
“Too many hospitals and health care organizations have been cutting services and staff, while posting enormous profits and/or hiding those profits,” Pinkham added. “At the same time, some hospitals are hoarding these profits, while siphoning off services from smaller community hospitals and are paying their CEOs enormous seven-figure salaries, while those same CEOs are cutting services and depriving their patients’ access to needed care.” As an organization, the MNA/NNU, in concert with numerous consumer and health care advocacy groups, has been involved in a number of campaigns over the years to protect services for local communities that are the direct result of this ominous trend. For example:
In each of these instances, health care executives cited the onset of ObamaCare and state health care reform as the driving force behind their decisions, at a time when WBUR recently reported that hospital profits (margins) nearly doubled between 2010 and 2012.
The proposed ballot initiative has four key provisions to address this situation:
“We have created a health care system of haves and have nots in Massachusetts, a system of winners and losers, where the mega health care corporations are the winners and too many patients and too many communities are the losers,” Pinkham said. “The public has a right to know how and where their health care dollars are being invested. Particularly at a time when hospitals are using the current financial climate as an excuse to degrade or limit the care they are providing to vulnerable patients. Our hospitals, no matter who owns them, are a public trust and our safety net, and this initiative is designed to give some long overdue control back to the tax payers and help protect that safety net.”