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  • The Nantucket Chamber of Commerce opposes state Ballot Question 1

    The Nantucket Chamber of Commerce opposes state Ballot Question 1, which would mandate nurse staffing ratios in Massachusetts hospitals.


    On Nov. 6th, voters will be asked to weigh in on this proposal which would require hospitals across the state, no matter their size or specific needs of their patients, to adhere to the same rigid nurse staffing ratios at all times. The petition does not include waivers or allowances for rural or small community hospitals like Nantucket Cottage Hospital, holding them to the same staffing ratios as the major academic medical centers in Boston.

    With a unanimous vote of its Board of Directors, the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce has joined Nantucket Cottage Hospital, as well as every other Massachusetts hospital and hundreds of business and healthcare organizations, in opposing this ballot question. While it may be well-intentioned, imposing government-mandated staffing ratios on hospitals, especially our island’s only healthcare facility, would remove the local decision-making of our Nantucket nurses and physicians about how to best serve patients.

    The Massachusetts Hospital Association has estimated that Ballot Question 1 would cost Nantucket Cottage Hospital at least $2.6 million in additional expenses. We fear the impact this could have on existing programs and services that NCH provides to the community. The proposed law would also come with potential penalties of $25,000 whenever the mandated nursing staff ratios are not met, presenting yet another regulatory burden on our hospitals. For Nantucket Cottage Hospital, which relies upon the generous philanthropy of the island community and already faces staffing challenges due to the island’s housing crisis, this would present an unnecessary financial threat to an institution all Nantucketers depend on.

    “We trust Nantucket Cottage Hospital President and CEO Dr. Margot Hartmann, along with her team of physicians, nurses, and other clinicians, to address the complexities of staffing a seasonal, remote community hospital in an appropriate manner that is safe for patients and sustainable for the organization,” said Chamber President and CEO David Martin. “We don’t believe the way to address this issue is through a government imposed, one-size-fits-all mandate on our unique island hospital.”

    “Every island business relies on Nantucket Cottage Hospital to provide quality care on a year-round basis,” said Martin. “This proposal could impede its ability to deliver on that mission.” The Chamber urges the Nantucket community to vote no on Ballot Question 1 on Nov. 6th.

    For more information contact:



    David W. Martin

    President / CEO

    Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce

    (508) 228-1700 | david@nantucketchamber.org | www.nantucketchamber.org