There are issues in health care where reasonable people can disagree. But what everyone can agree on is the need to protect America’s health care workforce from threats, abuse, and violence.
The statistics of violence directed at health care workers are horrifying. Overall, health care professionals are five times more likely to experience workplace violence than workers in other sectors.
Violence should never be accepted as “part of the job” in health care settings. That’s why AHA and many other health care organizations are calling on Congress to immediately pass the Protection from Violence against Health Care Workers (SAVE) Act (H.R. 2584/S. 2768), bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would protect health care workers from violence. Would provide federal protections for workers. Similar to those that apply to aircraft and airport staff.
There is an urgent need for protection from violence in the workplace. Although hospitals and health systems have worked diligently to establish protocols and programs to protect staff and promote a safe environment for patient care, violence against health care workers has increased in recent years.
Assaults and abuse can also interfere with patient care when providers fear for their personal safety, are distracted by disruptive patients or family members, or are traumatized by prior violent interactions. These types of incidents also consume scarce hospital and health system resources, resulting in affected care available to other patients.
The AHA has taken several steps to highlight the urgency of this issue, including a number of new activities.
Capitol Hill Briefing, On Tuesday, along with the American College of Emergency Physicians, we hosted a briefing for Capitol Hill staff and media to educate them on the problem and why federal legislation is necessary. Special thanks to hospital, health system and physician leaders in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC, for sharing their stories. We’re proud of the House bill’s co-sponsors, Reps. Larry Bucshon, Md., R-Ind., and Madeleine Dean, D-Pa. Felt honored to start the briefing by.
Show support from national organizations, Last week the AHA and eight other national hospital associations expressed support for the SAVE Act, joining 25 additional organizations supporting the legislation.
Keeping our health care workers safe is a top priority for the AHA and the region. We will redouble our efforts throughout the year to ensure federal protection for them. Our dedicated caregivers, who give their all to patients every day, deserve nothing less.