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Delaware Passes Bill to Address Hospital Violence 


June 15, 2022
Christina Crooks Bryan
(302) 674-2853
Delaware Passes Bill to Address Hospital Violence 
Senate Passes HB 324 to Increase Penalties for Assaulting Health Care Workers
(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:
  • Health care workers have a 20 percent higher chance of being the victim of workplace violence than other workers.
  • Workers in health care settings are four times more likely to be victimized than workers in private industry.
  • 75 percent of nearly 25,000 workplace assaults reported annually occurred in health care and social service settings. 
About the Delaware Healthcare Association 
The Delaware Healthcare Association (DHA) is a statewide trade and membership services organization for hospitals and health care systems that serves as a leader in the promotion of effective change in health services through collaboration and consensus building on health care issues at the State and Federal levels. DHA’s vision is to be the leading and respected voice for hospitals and health care delivery systems in Delaware working together to deliver compassionate, accessible, high quality, financially sustainable health care to the patients and communities they serve. DHA’s mission is to provide policy and advocacy leadership in creating an excellent environment for enabling every Delawarean to be as healthy as they can be.

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