Two Missouri House bills focus on health care workplace violence

Updated: Mar. 11, 2021 at 4:57 PM CST
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SCOTT COUNTY, Mo. (KFVS) - Long before we heard the term coronavirus, healthcare workers faced dangers on the job.

Now, a pair of bills in the Missouri House aim to protect them from workplace violence, and hold those who injure them accountable.

”We’ve been punched, kicked, spit on, verbally abused,” said Sydney Davis, EMT for North Scott County Ambulance District.

That’s just a few things Davis and her coworkers deal with while on the job.

“If it’s not something every day, it’s at least something every other day,” she said.

Now, two bills aiming to protect people like Davis make their way through the Missouri House.

HB 1022 creates penalties for disrupting health care operations and ambulance services.

HB 398 requires hospitals to create workplace violence prevention plans.

“We are first responders; health care workers we deserve to have that type of protection and I think it’s a great thing,” she said.

Larry Chasteen’s spent 32 years in healthcare and now serves as a paramedic administrator.

“I would hope that legislation would help make people aware of the penalties they face if they do show an act of violence toward a health care worker,” he said.

According to the World Health Organization, up to 38 percent of all healthcare workers suffer from workplace violence.

“We deal with them on a regular basis. We had one of our paramedics punched by a patient this week,” he said.

Chasteen said he supports anything that will help keep his team safe.

“I have no issues with some new legislation that could help us create programs, and get assistance from the state level and the federal level to create guidelines and polices and stuff that can help us prevent injures in the workplace,” he said.

Until then, they will continue to do their job despite any issues thrown their way.

“The main goal is to get them to the hospital so they can get help, that’s it in a nut shell,” he said.

Lawmakers introduced both house bills this year, with State Rep. Wayne Wallingford sponsoring HB 398.

So far both have had a public hearing.

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