This week AARC President Sheri Tooley sent a letter to Representatives Madeline Dean and Larry Bucshon, MD, voicing AARC’s support for the Safety from Violence for Healthcare Employees (SAVE) Act of 2022 introduced on June 7, 2022. The bill provides legal penalties for individuals who knowingly and intentionally assault or intimidate hospital employees. The AARC is committed to ensuring the respiratory care profession is protected from workplace violence and applauds the introduction of this important piece of legislation.
According to the press release issued by Reps. Dean and Bucshon, the bill is modeled after current protections for aircraft and airport workers who have seen an increase in violent attacks since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Text language in the bill is not yet available, although it is noted in the press release that “the bill would criminalize assault or intimidation of hospital employees – with protections for individuals who may be mentally incapacitated due to illness or substance use,” to prevent further violence and ensure offenders are appropriately penalized for their crimes.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows an increasing trend between 2011 to 2018 in violent incidences in the health care sector, with almost three-quarters of all nonfatal injuries and illnesses requiring days off from work. While some states have taken individual action to protect health care workers, currently there is no federal law that protects hospital employees from assault and intimidation. This bill takes steps to address these critical issues and the AARC looks forward to working with Congress to ensure its passage.
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