News in Brief: May 26, 2014
Massachusetts Nurses Association – State House
Hundreds of nurses in the Massachusetts Nurses Association rallied at the State House on Wednesday, calling for the passage of the Patient Safety Act and the Hospital Profit Transparency and Fairness Act. The former bill, they say, will dramatically improve patient safety in Massachusetts’ hospitals by setting safe, realistic, and prudent standards on the maximum number of patients that can be safely cared for by hospital nurses at any one time. While the latter bill, they say, will guarantee the taxpayers’ right to know exactly how their healthcare dollars are spent by hospital administrators. The transparency act requires that hospitals receiving tax subsidies disclose in a timely and fully transparent manner how large their profit margins are, how much money they hold in offshore accounts and how much compensation they pay their CEOs. The union says that when hospitals like North Adams Regional Hospital are closing while others are closing pediatric, detox and psychiatric units, policymakers have the right to know if tax dollars are being spent to benefit patient safety or hospital CEOs. To ensure access to needed services by all patients, the act also provides enhanced funding options for hospitals serving poorer populations.
Boston Taxi Drivers Association – South Street
The Boston Taxi Drivers Association, an affiliate of the United Steelworkers union, held a rolling taxi rally and protest outside the headquarters of the Uber car service company on Thursday. They are calling on the Mayor of Boston and the Police Commissioner to order all Uber transportation vehicles off the streets of Boston until the city can regulate and license all its drivers and cars. The union says the Boston Police Department Hackney Unit has failed to protect both the public and the licensed taxi business from unregistered Uber vehicles, even though the police commissioner has the clear authority to do so under rules for regulating the taxi industry. They say the hackney unit has failed to protect the public from unregistered and unregulated vehicles and drivers, whereas all Boston cab drivers are vetted and licensed, their fares are regulated, and their vehicles are inspected.