The hospital and nursing home financial sustainability programs have been top legislative priorities in recent years, but because both were approved last year for two years they do not need to be reauthorized in 2018.
This year, HAH’s main focus will be on supporting legislation that addresses violence against healthcare workers. This legislative effort is part of a multi-pronged approach needed to confront this growing national problem, which requires training, community awareness, prevention and legal remedies.
HAH will also be assisting its members by helping to train healthcare personnel in de-escalation techniques, and by providing other tools and resources when the potential for violence is observed.
The primary goal is deterrence so that the potential for violence is minimized. However, healthcare workers need to know that when willful violence occurs, the charge will be commensurate with the crime.
Currently in Hawaii, assault against a healthcare worker not in the emergency room is considered a misdemeanor. This means someone may deliberately assault a healthcare worker and receive light to no punishment, or have the offense expunged from his or her record. HAH proposes to make assaulting a healthcare worker a felony offense.
Hawaii already has legislation that protects other classes of vulnerable workers such as teachers and emergency medical technicians. The legislation HAH proposes is intended to help protect healthcare workers who provide essential services in any setting, hospitals, private homes, nursing homes, hospices or assisted living facilities.