Massachusetts news roundup
Boston: Gaming panel nixes track's bid for slots
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Monday disqualified the owners of the Plainridge Racecourse from pursuing the state's sole slots parlor license.
The commission said in a statement that Plainridge's owners failed to present "clear and convincing evidence as to business practices that will likely lead to a successful gaming operation."
The decision leaves four other slots applicants. The commission is expected to make its final selection before the end of the year.
Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby said the decision to disqualify Plainridge -- operating under the business name of Ourway Realty LLC -- followed a comprehensive background investigation and deliberations by the five-member commission.
The commission said the investigation revealed what it called "a culture of fear and concealment pervasive in the operations" of the Plainville facility. It said the most notable concern were "deeply troubling" practices of the former Plainridge president Gary Piontkowski.
Boston: Ballot initiative would cap burden on nurses
A union representing Massachusetts nurses is pushing a ballot initiative designed to set limits on the number of patients that can be assigned to a nurse at any one time.
The question would also require hospitals to adjust nurses' patients assignments based on the severity of the medical needs of those in their care, the Massachusetts Nurses Association says.
Union officials say patient limits can reduce the number of mistakes, complications and preventable readmissions.
Massachusetts has no law that established the maximum number of patients a nurse can safely care for at any one time, said Donna Kelly-Williams, president of the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United. She also said there's no requirement for hospitals to adjust their staffing levels based on patients' medical needs.
"As a result, hospitals are forcing nurses to ration care, placing patients' health in jeopardy," Kelly-Williams said.
The Massachusetts Hospital Association says the question would mandate one-size-fits-all nurse staffing ratios, and is an attempt by the union to pressure lawmakers into approving a similar bill that has repeatedly failed on Beacon Hill.
Boston: Report: Many banks still foreclose illegally
Many banks are still violating basic legal requirements when foreclosing on properties in Massachusetts, according to attorneys who represent homeowners fighting to save their homes.
Lenders do not always adhere to a 2007 state law, amended in 2010, that provides homeowners 150 days to catch up on missed mortgage payments before a foreclosure can begin, they say.
Under the law, banks and mortgage companies are required to send "right-to-cure" notices to delinquent borrowers that provide basic information about the foreclosure process, including whom to contact and who holds the mortgage.
Eloise Lawrence, an attorney at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau in Cambridge, said she has helped more than two dozen homeowners overturn their foreclosures in Lynn alone based on problems with right-to-cure notices.
-- The Associated Press
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