Healthcare Worker Protection

I have some exciting news to share. Recently, Fowlerville’s own Marlene Grover was appointed to the Michigan State Board of Barber Examiners. Congratulations to Marlene!

On another note, I am sad to inform you of the an alarming trend growing across our state and country – health care workers facing the possibility of being physically injured just for showing up to work.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 48 percent of all nonfatal assaults in the U.S. workplace are committed by health care patients. Additionally, a U.S. Department of Labor study found that nurses and other personal care workers suffer violent assaults at a rate 12 times higher than other industries.

I’m happy to report that legislation to help address this growing problem by strengthening penalties for assaulting a health care professional has been approved by the Michigan Senate.

If signed into law, Senate Bills 642 and 643 would strengthen the penalty for assaulting a health care professional.

Individuals convicted of committing assault or battery against a health care professional performing their duties would face charges with an enhanced penalty similar to the penalties for assaulting a social worker or utility worker.

The new laws would define “health care professionals” as emergency medical technicians; ambulance operators and attendants; nurses; physical and occupational therapists; and physicians or physician assistants.

I hope these bills help deter violence against health care workers. Individuals who select careers to help heal should not have to fear for their safety while doing their jobs.

SBs 642 and 643 are currently before a House of Representatives panel for further consideration.

Sen. Joe Hune represents the 22nd state Senate District, which includes Livingston and Shiawassee counties, and the southern part of Ingham County. The Ingham County portion includes Bunkerhill, Leslie, Stockbridge and Vevay townships, and the cities of Leslie and Mason.