SAVE Act Introduced: New Federal Legislation Addresses Dire Need to Protect Hospital Personnel From Violence

By: Cristina N. Hyde, JD

On June 7, 2022, bipartisan legislation was introduced to the United States House of Representatives that addresses a rising level of hospital violence and its effect on quality care. The Safety from Violence for Healthcare Employees (SAVE) Act (H.R. 7961), addresses the need to provide our healthcare employees with a safe working environment through the criminalization of assault or other acts intended to intimidate our hospital staff.

Unfortunately for our healthcare heroes, the victimization of hospital staff by unruly and aggressive patients or family was already a problem before it was exacerbated by the pressures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.  According to the American Hospital Association (AHA), recent statistics reveal unacceptable truths with 44% of nurses reporting acts of physical violence, and 68% reporting abuse during the pandemic.

Recognizing not only the physical and psychological harm to hospital workers caused by these events but also the effect these behaviors have on our health care system’s ability to provide quality care, the SAVE Act establishes monetary and criminal penalties for these behaviors.   Highlights of the SAVE Act include:

  • The finding that the incidence of assault and intimidation against hospital employees poses a serious national problem.
  • The finding that workplace violence in hospitals inhibits hospital employees from performing their duties and thereby disrupts the delivery of health care services; leading to adverse patient outcomes.
  • The recognition that violence towards hospital workers has been associated with decreased productivity and quality of care, employee absenteeism, and increased employee turnover.
  • The establishment of both monetary and criminal penalties for violence; with some criminal penalties of up to 20 years in prison.
  • The creation of a Grant program for hospitals for the purpose of carrying out programs to reduce the incidence of violence.

Campanella Law Office will continue to monitor the SAVE Act as it progresses through its legislative journey and we encourage our followers to contact their legislators to express their support for the SAVE Act.  Meanwhile, if you require guidance related to acts of assault or intimidation occurring within your healthcare facility, Contact Us.

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