Key Committee Unanimously Approves HAP-supported Bill to Improve Health Care Worker Safety
June 05, 2019
Legislation to increase the penalty for assaulting a health care worker received unanimous approval from the state Senate Judiciary Committee today. The committee passed Senate Bill 351—sponsored by Senator Judy Ward (R–Blair)—which would increase the grading to a felony for any assault on a health care worker while he or she is performing a job-related duty.
The committee vote today clears the way for the legislation to receive consideration from the full state Senate.
Pennsylvania’s health care professionals dedicate their lives to providing care for every patient that enters their hospitals, but the rise in threats against, and harassment and assault of health care workers is a serious concern. Addressing workplace safety issues remains a top priority for HAP. The association supports Senate Bill 351, and is working with lawmakers and member hospitals to enact legislation to improve the safety of the state’s health care workforce. In addition to Senate Bill 351, HAP continues to advocate for House Bill 39, sponsored by Representative Pam Snyder (D–Greene), which would remove the requirement in Pennsylvania law that hospitals include health care staff’s last name on their identification badges. Further, Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R–York) has announced plans to introduce a Senate companion bill to House Bill 39.
Last month, hospital staff and leadership at Main Line Health’s Lankenau Hospital met with state lawmakers in a legislative forum to discuss the increase of health care workplace violence. The panel of state Representatives and Senators and staff heard firsthand about the rise in workplace violence and how the General Assembly—by passing Senate Bill 351 and House Bill 39—can improve the safety of health care workers in hospitals across the commonwealth.
HAP thanks Senators Ward and Phillips-Hill and Representative Snyder for their leadership in improving the safety of Pennsylvania’s hospital workforce, and urges the General Assembly to pass both pieces of legislation.
For more information, contact Stephanie Watkins, HAP’s vice president, state legislative advocacy, or Warren Kampf, HAP’s senior vice president, advocacy and external affairs.