A chilly Mid-Atlantic Thursday afternoon and the Maryland State Senate Finance Committee has now heard an ear-full on the Safe Care Act, where members of the Safe Care Initiative testified earlier today.
The Safe Care Act, in short, is proposed legislation to protect healthcare workers in the state from workplace violence.
Maryland is not alone in this push for comprehensive legislation aimed at preventing workplace violence. Fourteen other states have also awakened to the fact that they had to do something and have since passed laws to address this epidemic.
For folks not working in the healthcare profession, the news that there is so much violence in our hospitals and nursing homes seems unfathomable. Unfortunately, healthcare workers face the highest rate of workplace violence of any other private-sector workers in the country.
Desmond Serrette, pictured here, represents SEIU1199 and is among leaders diligently moving this proposed legislation forward. When asked about the hearing, he said, “Our hospital and nursing home workers went in and told the Senators about the assaults they take on a daily basis. And, the significance here, among other things, is that no one here can claim (as they have) that they had ‘no idea.
“We are now one day closer to making Maryland’s healthcare facilities safer for both patients and workers,” Serrette, said.
The Maryland Safe Care Initiative has brought to light the fact that as recently as 2010, healthcare and social assistance workers in this state accounted for 64% of all workplace violence incidents that required at least one day away from work.
Here at the State Senate and on every hospital or nursing home floor, you will be hard pressed to find a healthcare provider say that when they came into this profession they anticipated and expected they’d be beat up on a regular basis. Aside from boxers, most people don’t go head first into their career with the idea that tonight they will return home with a black eye – or worse, not make it back at all.
As Serrette said, “We need to stand up, get heard and make changes.” If ever there was a more worthy campaign to stand up behind, it would be this one.