Friday, March 06, 2020

State Senate approves legislation to address workplace violence in hospitals/health care facilities

Full Senate approves legislation to address workplace violence in hospitals/health care facilities

 (March 5th, Oklahoma City) The full Senate voted in favor of legislation strengthening laws dealing with violence against people who work in hospitals and health care facilities.  Senate Bill 1290, the Medical Care Provider Protection Act, by Sen. Darrell Weaver, was approved on Thursday and now moves to the House of Representatives.

Weaver, R-Moore, said nearly 75 percent of all workplace assaults occur in health care with one in four nurses reporting they’d experienced some kind of workplace violence—that’s more than three times higher than all other occupations. He said the goal of SB 1290 is to better protect Oklahoma health care workers.

“In Oklahoma City hospitals alone, there are between five and 10 assaults reported every single day.  Attacks on health care workers can result in significant injuries, missed work, PTSD and lower productivity,” Weaver said.  “It can also be deadly.  Nationwide, at least 58 hospital workers died in 2014 as a result of reported violence in the workplace.  It’s clear we need to strengthen our laws to better protect health care workers, raise awareness and increase accountability.”

Provisions included in SB 1290 would:

  • Raise awareness through uniformed signage in medical settings, which will read:  WARNING:  ASSAULTING A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL WHO IS ENGAGED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS OR HER OFFICIAL DUTIES IS A SERIOUS CRIME.
  • Require the annual reporting of all assaults on health care workers to the State Health Department. The data would be nonidentifiable.
  • Create an inclusive listing of specific health care workers that the bill covers.
  • Increase the penalty for aggravated assault and battery on a medical care provider from the current range of up to one year to a minimum of two years and a maximum of five.

“SB 1290 will make sure all health care workers are covered by protections related to assaults, whether they’re an ER doctor or nurse, a physical therapist, or even a chaplain. The bill also corrects a disparity in current law to ensure appropriate penalties for these attacks,” Weaver said.  “I appreciate the Senate’s support on this measure and look forward to working with my House author, Representative Cynthia Roe, to get this bill all the way to the governor’s desk.”


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