Hospitals

Hospital worker protection bill reintroduced in Ohio House

Two Ohio lawmakers are hoping a bill that would increase the punishment for assaulting a hospital worker fares better the second time around. House Bill 154 would make assaulting a hospital worker a fourth-degree felony and is nearly identical to a bill introduced last legislative session that never made it to a vote.

Two Ohio lawmakers are hoping a bill that would increase the punishment for assaulting a hospital worker fares better the second time around.

House Bill 154 would make assaulting a hospital worker a fourth-degree felony and is nearly identical to a bill introduced last legislative session that never made it to a vote. The law would cover anyone who works in a hospital — doctors, nurses, clerks, medical technicians, security officers and others.

Fourth-degree felonies are punishable by prison terms between six and 18 months, and a fine up to $5,000. Typically, assault is treated as a lesser offense, such as a first-degree misdemeanor, which calls for punishment of up to six months in jail and a fine up to $1,000.

Rep. Stephen Slesnick, D-Canton, is a repeat sponsor of the bill and is joined by co-sponsor Rep. Denise Driehaus, D-Cincinnati, in pushing the bill.

The Ohio Hospital Association and Ohio State Medical Association, which represents the state’s physicians, support the proposal.

Slesnick said last year the need for a bill offering extra protection to hospital workers was brought to his attention by officials at Canton’s Mercy Medical Center.

Photo courtesy of Flickr use SarahMcD

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