Bipartisan Bills Address Healthcare Worker Abuse

LANSING — Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a package of bills designed to protect healthcare workers from abuse. The two-bill package championed by Republican Representative Mike Mueller (Linden) and Democrat Kelly Breen (Novi) will increase fines against those who assault, without a weapon, health professionals or medical volunteers who are on the job at the time of the crime and increase fines against those who assault health professionals or medical volunteers on the job with a weapon. Both bills also require operators of health facilities to post signs describing enhanced fines under these bills.

“Michigan’s dedicated health care professionals continue to go above and beyond to safeguard the health of our residents, despite growing challenges and intimidation,” said state Representative Mike Mueller. “This new law is a step toward providing a secure working environment for hospital personnel, discouraging acts of violence, and ensuring that anyone who targets them with violence is held responsible.”

The bills were supported by a wide array of healthcare groups including the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, “Physical and verbal acts of violence against healthcare workers and volunteers are unacceptable,” said Brian Peters, CEO of Michigan Health & Hospital Association. “As these rates have increased over recent years, the MHA and our member hospitals and health systems thank the Michigan Legislature for passing and Gov. Whitmer for signing House Bills 4520 and 4521 to further protect caregivers in our hospitals. Healthcare workers provide care to anyone who enters a hospital and the increased penalties for assault against a healthcare worker demonstrates these crimes are taken extremely seriously by hospital administrators, lawmakers and law enforcement.”

Representative Breen pointed out that the bills protect front-line healthcare workers who have protected Michiganders especially during the pandemic, “Doctors, nurses, and other medical workers—part of the team of frontline heroes who saw us through the worst of the pandemic—deserve greater protections from physical violence on the job,” said state Representative Kelly Breen. “I’m proud of the work to get this bipartisan package signed into law, and I want to thank the countless nurses and other advocates who pushed for this critical legislation.”

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