Violence against Health Care Workers

A violent and unsettling video of St. John’s Hospital nurses in Maplewood being attacked by a patient wielding a metal bar from an IV pole made the news back in November. The attacks resulted in a collapsed lung, a fractured wrist, and legislators determined to pass a bill to help combat the rise in workplace violence against health care workers in Minnesota.

The Violence against Health Care Workers Bill is designed to provide adequate training, staffing, and security to health care workers who are faced with workplace violence.

According to the Department of Justice, fewer than half of all non-fatal violent workplace crimes are reported to the police. This bill would protect some of the known causes for under-reporting workplace assaults, including “part of the job” syndrome, fear of blame or reprisal, lack of management/peer support, and feeling it’s not worth the effort.

This legislation aims to ensure hospitals have plans in place to deal with these types of incidents. Hospitals must develop violence prevention plans in coordination with healthcare workers and identify areas of need. Health care workers will also receive training on violence prevention and de-escalation, as well as emergency preparedness. Finally, the bill allows MDH to impose an administrative fine of up to $250 for not complying with these requirements.

STATUS: The bill is in the Finance Committee. (S.F. 1071)

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