This week, Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced "The Safety from Violence for Healthcare Employees (SAVE) Act," legislation modeled after existing protections for airline or airport employees that would establish federal criminal penalties for individuals who assault health care workers (with protections for individuals who may be mentally incapacitated for various reasons). Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year. (The bills are essentially identical in terms of federal penalties; however, the newly-introduced Senate bill does not include a section regarding grants for hospitals that is included in the House version).
ACEP president Christopher S. Kang, MD, FACEP, was quoted in the senators' press release: “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.”