Proposed Massachusetts bill targets healthcare workplace violence

Proposed legislation in Massachusetts would increase workplace violence protections for healthcare employees, reports Sentinel & Enterprise.

The legislation, Elise's Law, is named for emergency room nurse Elise Wilson, RN, an emergency room nurse who was stabbed more than 10 times last June by a patient at Southbridge, Mass.-based Harrington Hospital.

Elise's Law includes a number of rules. First, it would require annual safety risk assessments by healthcare employers, reports Sentinel & Enterprise. The publication states it would also require healthcare employers "to ... develop and implement programs to minimize the danger of workplace violence to employees and patients," and "would also require time off for healthcare workers assaulted on the job to address legal issues and require semiannual reporting of assaults on healthcare employees."

The proposed legislation follows a Massachusetts Nurses Association workplace violence/abuse survey conducted from November 2015 to January 2016 among more than 220 participants. Overall, the survey found 86 percent of nurses said they experienced some form of violence in the past two years.

The Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security at the Massachusetts State House approved Elise's Law in July. It is still under consideration in the Massachusetts Legislature, according to the report.



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