Two Health Care Worker Safety Bills Headed to Governor
A bill (SB 1299) that would require state hospitals to implement violence prevention plans to shield health care workers from aggressive and violent behavior is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown (D), the Sacramento Business Journal reports (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 8/26).
The bill was introduced after two separate attacks occurred at Los Angeles-area medical centers in April (California Healthline, 5/30).
Under current law:
- Safety training is only required for emergency department staff; and
- Violence prevention plans are only required for EDs and "high risk" areas.
Details of SB 1299
The legislation, by state Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), would require a safety plan and training for all departments and staff (Sen. Padilla release, 8/22). Specifically, it calls for:
- Strategies to determine appropriate staff levels to maintain security;
- The creation of systems for investigating instances of violence; and
- Training policies for identifying and responding to violence (California Healthline, 4/22).
The bill also would require hospitals to develop violence prevention plans for:
- Areas with uncontrolled access, such as parking lots; and
- Early morning and late-night shifts (Padilla release, 8/22).
The bill would require hospitals in the state to report violent incidents the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, which would publish an annual report (California Healthline, 4/22).
Infection-Related Workers' Compensation Bill Advanced
In related news, the state Senate last week advanced a bill (AB 2616) that would allow hospital employees who contract a staph infection to be eligible for workers' compensation coverage.
According to the Journal, California hospitals treat about 200,000 patients for antibiotic-resistant staph infections each year. The bill's regulations would assume that any staph infection in a hospital worker was contracted while they were at work.
California Hospital Association spokesperson Jan Emerson-Shea said the measure is unfair to hospitals, noting that staph infections are prevalent outside of the hospital.
The bill now heads to Brown for approval (Sacramento Business Journal, 8/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.