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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: May 31, 2017 10:46 AM
From: Representative Alexander T. Charlton
To: All House members
Subject: Healthcare Facilities Violence Prevention Act
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation creating the “Healthcare Facilities Violence Prevention Act.” This important legislation is geared at protecting and preventing violence against the dedicated nurses, doctors, therapists, and healthcare professionals who care for us when we are most vulnerable.

Around one in four nurses will be physically attacked in a given year. Even more — over 70%, according to some research — will face threats and harassment on the job. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has estimated that healthcare workers experience workplace violence at rates 5 to 12 times higher than for workers overall. And unfortunately, violence against healthcare workers seems to be on the rise: Between 2005 and 2014, rates of workplace violence incidents have increased 110% in private industry hospitals.

On July 24, 2014, a caseworker was killed and a physician wounded by a patient in the outpatient psychiatric unit at Mercy Fitzgerald Wellness Center in Darby, Pennsylvania. Other constituents have reported being hit, kicked, bitten, and scratched. While many incidents go unreported, we know that violence and harassment are problems for healthcare workers at all types of facilities in all parts of the state.

Common factors associated with violence include long wait times in emergency departments, patients who have a history of violence, patients with psychiatric histories, and patients under the influence of narcotics, drugs, or alcohol, according to a study published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine.

The purpose of this legislation is to establish committees in the workplace to make recommendations on preventing violence, properly responding to violent incidents, and improving overall safety for employees and other patients.

Please consider sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1658