Michigan is cracking down on violence against nurses, doctors, and other medical personnel, thanks to a new law led by state Rep. Mike Mueller.
Mueller, R-Linden, said Michigan hospitals have reported a significant increase in the number of violent encounters with visitors, creating a need for stronger protections. His plan, signed into law today, stiffens penalties for people who assault health care workers.
“Michigan’s dedicated health care professionals continue to go above and beyond to safeguard the health of our residents, despite growing challenges and intimidation,” Mueller said. “This new law is a step toward providing a secure working environment for hospital personnel, discouraging acts of violence, and ensuring that anyone who targets them with violence is held responsible.”
Roughly 70 percent of emergency nurses say they’ve been hit or kicked on the job and 47 percent of emergency physicians say they’ve been assaulted, a 2018 survey by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) found.
In 2019, U.S. hospitals recorded 221,400 work-related injuries and illnesses, a rate of 5.5 work-related injuries and illnesses for every 100 full-time employees. That is almost twice the rate for private industries, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
House Bill 4520-21 add health care professionals and medical volunteers to a protected group of workers that already includes police officers, firefighters and EMS personnel. Assaulting one of these protected professionals could result in a felony with increased fines. The potential for jail time will remain unchanged.
Medical facilities must post signs in areas visible to the public that warn of the increased fines.
“I am proud to see this bipartisan plan come to fruition after working on it for more than a year,” Mueller said. “It’s gratifying to witness our efforts translate into meaningful progress for the health care workers who tirelessly serve our communities.”
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