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Federal Legislation Aims to Enhance Health Care Worker Safety

June 07, 2022

HAP is putting its support behind legislation introduced today by a member of Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation that seeks to prevent violence against health care workers.

U.S. Representative Madeleine Dean (D-4) introduced the Safety from Violence for Healthcare Employees (SAVE) Act along with Representative Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN).

This effort to model protections for health care workers after current protections for aircraft and airport workers has been spearheaded by the American Hospital Association (AHA) as a component of its multi-part federal agenda to support the hospital workforce.

The SAVE Act aims to address rising violence against health care workers by:

  • Establishing federal, criminal penalties for those who knowingly assault and intimidate hospital employees. The bill includes enhanced penalties for the use of a dangerous weapon that results in injury and acts committed during a public emergency, as well as exceptions for individuals who may be mentally incapacitated due to illness or substance use.
  • Authorizing $25 million in grant funding over 10 years to reduce violence and intimidation in hospitals. Funds may be used for training, law enforcement coordination, and technology.

“Violence in hospitals has been growing with increasing frequency for years,” Representative Dean said. “This legislation will take the important step to enhance the criminal penalty for someone who knowingly and intentionally enters a hospital and assaults an employee. These tireless heroes deserve protections to ensure they are not victimized while trying to save lives.”

Preventing and addressing violence against health care workers has been a key priority for HAP and Pennsylvania’s hospital community. In addition to supporting the federal advocacy spearheaded by the AHA, HAP advocated for recent state legislation that made assaulting an on-duty health care worker a felony.

“Hospitals are concerned about increasing reports across Pennsylvania of violence against front-line staff and medical professionals,” HAP President and CEO Andy Carter said. “We stand with hospital teams to prevent violence and have grieved the tragic circumstances where health care professionals have lost their lives. HAP and Pennsylvania’s hospital community thank Representatives Dean and Bucshon for championing this important legislation that will help deter violence against health care workers and enhance hospitals’ efforts to keep their employees safe.”

For more information, contact John Myers, HAP’s vice president, federal advocacy.