News Release: Legislative Leaders Hear from Hospital Staff about Ways to Prevent Workplace Violence
September 30, 2019
Last week, state lawmakers learned firsthand the urgency of passing legislation to protect health care workers in Pennsylvania’s hospitals.
The September 27 listening session was held at UPMC Altoona and hosted by The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) and Healthy Me PA—HAP’s online community. During the event, staff from the region’s hospitals shared their personal experiences as victims of violence and violent threats, and targets for unwanted social media contact. The stories demonstrated that simple and immediate policy changes are needed to improve the safety of hospital employees, as well as to recruit and retain a high-quality health care workforce.
Currently, there are two plans under consideration in the state legislature that could help address this serious problem:
- Senate Bill 351, offered by Senator Judy Ward (R–Blair)—and its companion, House Bill 1879, offered by Representative Keith Gillespie (R–York)—would raise the penalty for an assault on a health care practitioner, while in the performance of duty, from a misdemeanor of the second degree to a felony of the second degree
- House Bill 39, offered by Representative Pam Snyder (D–Greene)—and its companions Senate Bill 842, offered by Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R–York), and House Bill 1880, offered by Representative Keith Gillespie (R–York)—would omit employees’ last names on hospital name badges, decreasing opportunities for harassment of employees and increasing a sense of security in the workplace
“The staff in Pennsylvania’s hospitals are united by a common goal: to deliver excellent care to the patients they serve. Too often, while they are caring for patients, members of our hospital family are becoming victims of violence in their own workplaces,” said Andy Carter, HAP president and CEO.
“At Friday's roundtable, legislative leaders heard troubling accounts of hospital workplace violence. These were just a few examples of a statewide issue. We call upon our legislative leaders to pass these commonsense measures that will protect our staff from workplace violence and make our hospitals safer for everyone.”