(DOVER, DE – June 15, 2022) Today, the Delaware Senate approved a bill, House Bill 324
, sponsored by Representative Bill Bush and Senator Trey Paradee to curb violent assaults on workers at Delaware hospitals and other health care facilities. HB 324 applies the felony offense of assault in the second degree to those that intentionally cause physical injury on health care workers while they are performing work-related duties. HB 324 passed the Delaware House on May 3rd
and with today’s passage, it now heads to the Governor’s desk for signature.
“Health care workers have dedicated their lives to caring for others, yet they are four times more likely to face serious workplace violence than in any other career,” said Wayne Smith, DHA President and CEO. “Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the frequency and severity of these incidents, which is why HB 324 is needed now more than ever. We thank the Delaware General Assembly for standing up against violence to health care workers -- a top concern for Delaware hospitals.”
Under Delaware Code, assault in second degree currently applies to various professions, including physicians, nurses and EMTs but does not include numerous employees of a health system that work in close contact with patients and families on a regular basis and are assaulted. These may include physician assistants, respiratory therapists, patient safety attendants, medical assistants, nursing assistants, physical therapists, public safety and security officers, EKG technicians, radiology technologists, and others. HB 324 would ensure that all health care employees have the same protection under the law.
This is critical as health care workers face higher rates of workplace violence. According to the Joint Commission