New North Carolina Law Strengthens Penalties for Violence Against Hospital Workers

HB 560 helps strengthens regulations to help protect all hospital workers.
 
 
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Workplace Violence
North Carolina

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Raleigh - North Carolina - US

RALEIGH, N.C. - June 22, 2015 - PRLog -- A new North Carolina law, signed on Friday by Gov. Pat McCrory, strengthens penalties for assault on hospital workers. Several states have passed similar legislation amid growing concerns about the safety of hospital staff facing significant risks of job-related violence.

Current law punishes assault on physicians and nurses in emergency departments with a Class I felony, elevated to a Class H should the assault be aggravated. House Bill 560, sponsored by Reps. Josh Dobson (R-Avery, McDowell, Mitchell), Sarah Stevens (R-Surry, Wilkes), and Gail Adcock (D-Wake) and Sen. Buck Newton (R-Johnston, Nash, Wilson), expands the law to include the entire hospital property and does not limit the scope to just physicians and nurses but includes all hospital personnel. The legislation was promoted by the North Carolina Hospital Association and the North Carolina Nurses Association.

“The safety of nurses and their hospital colleagues is essential to the healthcare team, as well as patients and their families,” said Tina Gordon, chief executive officer of the North Carolina Nurses Association. “Violence anywhere in the hospital environment disrupts the delivery of the highest quality care and can also delay healing and recovery for patients.”

Violence against health care workers has become a nationwide epidemic. According to a recent study (http://facilityexecutive.com/2015/03/hospitals-report-ris...), one in three U.S. hospitals reported an increase in violence and assaults in 2014. Violent incidents have been increasing as hospitals are seeing more patients with behavioral health issues.

“We appreciate our lawmakers’ recognition of the importance of maintaining a safe workplace for healthcare providers,” said Bill Pully, president of the North Carolina Hospital Association. “In addition to this important legislation to protect our valuable employees, hospitals also are advocating for increased access to community-based behavioral health treatment to prevent crisis situations.”

The law becomes effective December 1, 2015, and applies to offenses committed on or after that date.

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NC Hospital Association

NCHA is a trade association representing more than 130 hospitals providing acute care, rehabilitative, behavioral, psychiatric and veterans’ services. The association promotes improved delivery of quality and affordable health care in North Carolina through leadership, advocacy, information, and education in its members' interest and for public benefit.

NC Nurses Association

Since 1902, the North Carolina Nurses Association has been the voice for North Carolina’s registered nurses. NCNA leads the charge in the quest to keep North Carolina nurses on the cutting edge of nursing policy, education, practice and more. NCNA is proud to be the only nursing association in the state that represents all of North Carolina’s Registered Nurses.

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Tags:Hospitals, Nurses, Workplace Violence, North Carolina
Industry:Government, Health
Location:Raleigh - North Carolina - United States
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