Protecting Utah’s Health Care Professionals
May 31, 2016
On Tuesday, Gov. Gary Herbert visited St. Mark’s Hospital to sign Senate Bill 106, a bill that takes aim at protecting health care professionals from patient and patient family assault.
“Our objective is to protect this group from injury while they are performing their life-saving duties,” Gov. Herbert said.
Last year, Intermountain Healthcare reported over 160 assaults on health care professionals by patients or their family members. St. Mark’s and other Utah hospitals have reported similar findings.
Violence in health care settings had previously been treated as a misdemeanor, and will now be punishable by up to a felony offense if the health care professional is acting in the scope of their official duties of employment, and if the defendant acts knowingly.
“We hope people will recognize that assaulting a health care worker is a serious act, similar to assaulting a police officer,” Governor Herbert said. “Our aim is to get the word out that we care about these individuals and will always work to ensure that their service does not go unprotected.”