Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Sept. 12 introduced the Safety from Violence for Healthcare Employees Act, AHA-supported legislation that would make it a federal crime to assault health care workers in hospitals, with enhanced penalties for assaults that result in serious bodily injury. The bill would also require the Government Accountability Office to study the effectiveness of the legislation in reducing violence against the health care workforce. Similar legislation was introduced in the House in April.

“Caregivers and other health care professionals are the heart of our nation’s health care system and deserve an environment free from violence,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “Hospitals are places of healing, which is why they are using a range of innovative strategies to create safer spaces for their workers and patients, including focusing on technology and training to mitigate risk to redesigning facilities and workflow processes to prioritize safety and reimagining relationships with hospital security and others to support prevention and crisis response. But hospitals cannot do it all alone. The sharp rise in violence against caregivers is clearly documented, yet no federal law exists to protect them. Enactment of this bipartisan legislation would be a significant step forward in protecting our workforce. The AHA commends Senators Manchin and Rubio for their leadership on this issue.” 

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