SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In response to growing incidents of workplace violence committed against health care workers, state Rep. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, is sponsoring legislation to require the implementation of new anti-violence measures at Illinois veterans’ homes, hospitals and other medical facilities.
“Health care providers go to work each day to provide life-saving patient care, yet more frequently their jobs are placing them in harm’s way,” said Halpin. “Acts of aggression committed against hospital employees have increased in recent years, and this issue needs to be taken seriously.”
The Halpin-backed House Bill 4100 creates the Health Care Violence Prevention Act, which requires medical facilities to develop a workplace violence prevention program, and explicitly forbids health care management from discouraging employees from contacting law enforcement or filing a complaint if an incident of workplace violence does occur. Additionally, the measure requires hospitals to establish protocols for the reception of potentially violent patients transferred from law enforcement. The legislation comes in response to at least two incidents at Illinois hospitals in the past year during which an inmate undergoing treatment used a weapon to hold nurses hostage.
“Nurses are especially vulnerable to violence because they are on the front lines and spend more time with patients than other health care providers,” said Halpin. “This legislation aims to mitigate incidents that result in injuries, sending a strong message that fear of violence should not be part of the job and will not be ignored.”