NEW JERSEY – In a move to further protect health care workers, the Senate Thursday advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton and Senator Fred Madden that would establish the “Health Care Heroes Violence Prevention Act,” expanding protections for health care workers who are subjected to workplace violence.
“For almost three years, our nurses, doctors and health care professionals have been on the frontline of the COVID pandemic – often putting their own health at risk,” said Singleton (D-Burlington). “Sadly, this figurative battlefield has turned literal, with people physically assaulting these essential workers. This is simply unacceptable. This bill would send a clear message that our health care workers must be treated with the respect, decency and civility they deserve.”
The bill, S-2008, would expand the aggravating factors to be considered in sentencing a defendant to include whether an individual committed an offense against a health care worker while engaged in their professional duties.
The bill would establish the criminal offense of threats against a health care professional, a volunteer working for a health care professional or working at a health care facility or an employee of a health care professional or health care facility.
“This legislation is vital to the protection of health care workers who have shown up every day to care for patients in the midst of a global pandemic,” said Madden (D-Gloucester/Camden). “However, we have seen a rise in violent acts committed against health care workers and providers. The goal of this bill is to protect the individuals who show up for us daily and put their own health and well-being on the line to ensure patients are getting the care that they need.”
The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 39-0.