HB292, which adds healthcare personnel including physicians, nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and others who routinely work in health care settings to those professions that are protected by enhanced criminal penalties if criminally attacked, is up for hearing on Monday. We need your help!
We are hearing that Senators are reluntant [sic] to approve a new felony. Assault and battery of health care workers is a problem in both EDs and elsewhere in hospitals and clinics, particularly from repeat offenders seeking drugs, or who are intoxicated. However, we’ve also been told that, particularly in rural towns, people are being approached on the street and asked for prescription narcotics, because they are recognized as the town doctor.
House Bill 292 would give courts the option to impose a more stringent penalty against those who assault physicians, nurses, or other health care providers, when the assault occurs during the performance of their duties, or because of their profession. The bill would provide up to five years maximum sentence, which is less than existing laws that impose up to 25 years for those who assault an EMT, Tax Commission employee, or social worker.
Our goal, of course, is not to put all sorts of people in jail. Instead, we hope that a nurse or other provider can stop a violent or abusive patient and inform him or her that they can call the police, and that person may be subject to a felony and up to five years in jail, which we hope will serve as a deterrent. Additionally, the bill ensures that this does not apply to a person acting out because of a mental illness, or someone who lacks the ability to intend to commit the crime because of something like dementia or prescribed medication, etc. It is important that Senators hear from those on the "front lines" who have real life examples of physical attacks against health care personnel.
HB292 has passed the House and will be heard in the Senate Judiciary & Rules Committee on Monday, March 25. Please contact Senators today & urge them to afford health care professionals protections from violent behavior by supporting HB292! Thank you!
A friend and colleague, who read The Customer is NEVER Right,sent me the above call to action memo intended to end healthcare directed violence in her state.
This is what I told her:
At first I blew off the call to action. Who wrote that? The first issue I had was with the first sentence where it says, “if criminally attacked”. That language suggest there are other criteria for being attacked, and that can include but not limited to “warranted” or worse “not intended”. Very BAD language. Simply “assaulted and/or battery” would be better words and permit a jury of their peers to decide “if criminally attacked” or not. Now that I read the next paragraph it got worse, “particularly from repeat offenders seeking drugs...intoxicated”. That is profiling and worse, I have never been challenged by either a drug seeker or someone intoxicated but instead by run of the mill patients and family. That language of profiling will not hold in a court of law. Hope the first defendant does not get a hold of this memo because all they have to do is submit it as evidence that the law was targeting drug seekers and intoxicated persons. The next paragraph really got the blood boiling, really, five and not twenty-five. I actually talked about that in the book where some in healthcare do not want to be seen as too aggressive, a baboon squad I think it was called. And the next sentence then repeats the impotency of the law, “the goal is not to put all sorts of people in jail.” Oh, okay! So then which ones. The ones you cherry pick. Like drug seekers and those intoxicated. Not good. OMG! I AM GOING TO PUKE! Is this for really, “we hope [we can deter the assailant, or the boogey man for how this is going, by reminding the bad person the law and the consequences.]” I am having a hard time sitting still reading this nonsense. Because when people commit such acts of violence they do not care what the law is and you will not be able to reason with them. PLEASE! An act of violence against another person is not like rolling through the STOP sign which you know you have to make a complete STOP at and why the sign is there to remind you it is the law. A person carrying out an act of violence against another person DOES NOT CARE WHAT THE LAW IS until they are in court trying to justify their violent act. And how dumb, they want to target drug seekers and those intoxicated but those “acting out” because of something like prescribed drugs will be spared. It DOES NOT matter if the drug seeker is not prescribed the drugs making them “act out” if the person can show that and say in court, “Your Honor, the drugs made me do it.” Because that will the end of the trail. And really! Really! “Acting out.” Acts of violence against innocence is not ACTING OUT!!!
Hearing from the “frontlines.” REALLY! I just threw another chair against the wall in frustration. Who wrote this idiotic memo? The literature is saturated with scientific evidence. That is what needs to be presented not “frontline” anecdotes. Think about it. If the scientific research has not moved the needle with regard to the topic what makes them think story telling will! I have to go and clean up this mess in here now.
It may be too late but this will not pass and if it does because law makers want to pass feel good legislation this law will be as impotent as not having any law because anyone with half a brain as they say can beat this. Now I am all wind up! Thanks.
When she sent me the call to action memo she sent it in hope I could remind her where in the book I had spoken of healthcare directed violence and research done about the growing trend. I told her in the book I had singled out one study that caught my attention and which I thought everyone in healthcare, especially administrators and administrator wannabes, need to read. The first time the article by Donna Gates and others titled Using action research to plan a violence prevention program for emergency departments is mentioned in the book is in Chapter 4, “Customer Satisfaction.”
Then I told my colleague and friend, “The suggested legislation above needs to be discarded as rubbish junk! SERENITY NOW! Serenity now!” (a calming technique learned from Seinfeld).