By BOB SALSBERG, Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — An independent state agency that monitors hospital spending says a November ballot question that would mandate strict nurse staffing levels could add nearly $1 billion in new health care costs.

The analysis by the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, released Wednesday, said passage of Question 1 would require as many as 3,000 additional nurses to be hired by hospitals around the state.

READ MORE: 'It's Peace Of Mind': Teachers Receive COVID Vaccine Booster Shots In Boston

The cost estimates in the report were immediately criticized by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, which supports the ballot initiative. The group says mandated nurse-to-patient ratios in all hospital units would greatly improve patient safety.

READ MORE: Kim Janey Endorses Michelle Wu In Boston Mayoral Race

Keller @ Large: Controversy, Confusion Over Question 1

The commission, which did not take a position for or against Question 1, estimated its passage would add between $676 million and $949 million in annual health care costs. It also called those estimates “conservative.”

MORE NEWS: Gov. Baker Calls For Action Towards Ending Nurses' Strike At St. Vincent Hospital

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)