Massachussetts Regulation of Hospital Operating Margins and CEO Compensation Initiative (2014)

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The Massachusetts Regulation of Hospital Operating Margins and CEO Compensation Initiative is not on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Massachusetts as an initiated state statute. The measure would have regulated the annual operating margins, chief executive officer compensation and financial asset disclosures of hospitals and certain other health-care facilities that accepted public funds.[1]

On June 18, 2014, the Massachusetts Nurses Association submitted approximately 25,000 signatures to local registrars for certification.[2] The measure ultimately was not certified for the 2014 ballot by the final signature filing deadline of July 2, 2014 because supporters ended the campaign in light of legislation passed by the general court.[3][4]

Support

Supporters

  • The Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA)[5][6]

Arguments

  • David Schildmeier of the MNA said, “We’re trying to make sure people know how much money some of these hospitals really have and make sure they’re using the money to provide health services rather than build up big corporate networks, hoard their profits, and pay their CEOs a lot of money.” He also asserted, “We have a system of haves and have-nots. We have hospitals that are very rich and have a strategy of serving mostly wealthy communities, and we have other community hospitals and safety-net hospitals that are struggling.”[7]
  • Karen Higgins, a critical care nurse at Boston Medical Center, said, “The public has a right to know how and where their health care dollars are being invested.”[5]

Opposition

Opponents

  • Massachusetts Hospital Association (MHA)[7]

Arguments

  • MHA President Lynn Nicholas argued, “It’s really naive to think patients would be well-served in the long run by placing mandated limits on market-based compensation for hospital CEOs. It would erode the capable leadership we have at the Commonwealth’s hospitals.”[7]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing the initiative process in Massachusetts

Supporters first had to submit the initiative, signed by ten voters, to the Massachusetts Attorney General by August 7, 2013. The attorney general then had to determine whether the measure met the legal requirements for circulation, which it did.[8]

In order to qualify for the ballot, supporters were required to collect a minimum of 68,911 valid signatures by November 20, 2013 and submit them to local registrars for certification. Then, these certified petitions were successfully filed with the secretary of state on the December 4, 2013 deadline, after which the secretary of state determined enough valid signatures had been collected. Nurses from the Massachusetts Nurses Association turned in an estimated 100,000 signatures.[5]

The Massachusetts General Court had until May 7, 2014 to either accept or reject the measure or take no action. No action was taken, therefore, the original supporters of the measure had to collect an additional 11,485 signatures and submit them to local registrars for certification by June 18, 2014. These signatures then had to be filed with the secretary of state no later than July 2, 2014.[8][9][10]

On June 18, 2014, the Massachusetts Nurses Association submitted approximately 25,000 signatures to local registrars.[2] However, supporters of the initiative ultimately ended their effort to land the measure on the ballot after the general court passed legislation that would that set nurse staffing ratios in intensive care units within hospitals.[4]

See also

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