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Rubio, Manchin Introduce Bill to Protect Healthcare Workers From Violence

Sep 12, 2023 | Press Releases

Acts of violence committed against healthcare workers is a growing issue in Florida and across the country. One study found 76 percent of American nurses had been assaulted at least once during their careers. Amid the national healthcare worker shortage, hospital staff cite workplace violence as one of the top reasons for leaving their jobs. 

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced the Safety from Violence for Healthcare Employees (SAVE) Act, which would criminalize the intentional assault of hospital employees.

  • “The SAVE Act would provide much-needed protections for our healthcare workers. It is unacceptable that these dedicated professionals have to put their lives at risk just to do their jobs. The SAVE Act would protect healthcare workers from violence by creating new criminal penalties for acts of intentional assault. I am proud to join Senator Manchin in leading this important bipartisan legislation and I urge my colleagues to support.”  – Senator Rubio
  • “Our nation’s healthcare workers tirelessly care for the health and well-being of communities across the country, even in the face of increased violence, threats, and intimidation. This legislation would create a safer working environment for hospital staff, deter violent behavior, and make sure that assailants are appropriately held accountable. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this commonsense bill and support our healthcare professionals so they can continue to focus on treating their patients.” – Senator Manchin

This legislation is endorsed by the Florida Hospital Association, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American Hospital Association, America’s Essential Hospitals, and the Emergency Nurses Association.

  • “Protecting the hospital workforce is paramount. They work tirelessly to deliver excellent patient care and deserve protection from workplace violence. The Florida Hospital Association (FHA) applauds Senators Rubio and Manchin for leading on this issue and introducing the SAVE Act of 2023 to strengthen federal law to protect hospital employees from assault. This year, the Florida Legislature and Governor DeSantis prioritized the passage of legislation to enhance criminal penalties for persons who knowingly commit assault or battery upon hospital personnel anywhere in the hospital. FHA proudly supports legislation that offers similar protections at the federal level. Thank you, Senators, for sending a clear message that violence against hospital workers anywhere in the U.S. will not be tolerated.” – Mary C. Mayhew, President and CEO, Florida Hospital Association
  • “Violence in the emergency department is escalating, threatening the health and safety of physicians, nurses, health care workers, and our patients. ED violence exacerbates the severe burnout affecting emergency care teams and can lead health care workers to leave an already strained workforce. ACEP deeply appreciates Senator Rubio and Senator Manchin for their bipartisan leadership on the SAVE Act to help ensure that federal law is further equipped to protect health care workers from violence, threats, and intimidation, while better safeguarding our patients with psychiatric and substance use disorder emergencies.” – Christopher S. Kang, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)
  • “Caregivers and other health care professionals are the heart of our nation’s health care system and deserve an environment free from violence. Hospitals are places of healing, which is why they are using a range of innovative strategies to create safer spaces for their workers and patients, including focusing on technology and training to mitigate risk to redesigning facilities and workflow processes to prioritize safety and reimagining relationships with hospital security and others to support prevention and crisis response, but hospitals cannot do it all alone. The sharp rise in violence against caregivers is clearly documented, yet no federal law exists to protect them. Enactment of this bipartisan legislation would be a significant step forward in protecting our workforce. The AHA commends Senators Manchin and Rubio for their leadership on this issue.” – American Hospital Association President and CEO Rick Pollack said.
  • “An increase in violence against health care workers has burdened a workforce already under immense stress from labor shortages and burnout. We appreciate the leadership of Sens. Manchin and Rubio for recognizing this urgent problem and taking action, with the SAVE Act of 2023. We urge their Senate colleagues to join them on this vital legislation.” –  Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, president and CEO of America’s Essential Hospitals. 
  • “Emergency nurses far too often have been victims of violent attacks in hospital emergency departments while they were simply doing their job of caring for patients. These attacks have reached a crisis point. By establishing federal penalties for individuals who assault hospital employees, this legislation creates real deterrence against such attacks and will result in greater protections for all emergency health care providers. On behalf of the Emergency Nurses Association and its nearly 50,000 members, I would like to thank Senator Rubio and Senator Manchin for introducing the SAVE Act and their efforts to reduce workplace violence.” – Emergency Nurses Association President Terry Foster, MSN, RN, CCRN, TCRN, CPEN, CEN, FAEN.