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Kemp Signs Safer Hospitals Act to Protect Healthcare Workers

In the wake of the Midtown shooting at Northside Hospital, which highlighted the vulnerability of hospitals and medical offices, Governor Kemp has signed a new law aimed at safeguarding healthcare employees and holding perpetrators accountable.

The Safer Hospitals Act allows hospitals to establish their own on-site police force, enabling them to respond swiftly to any potential threats.

Under this legislation, individuals convicted of assaulting healthcare workers could face imprisonment for a period ranging from 5 to 20 years.

The Georgia Nurses Association CEO, Matt Kezman, emphasized the need for such measures, citing an alarming increase in assaults on nurses since the onset of the pandemic.

Kezman attributed this surge in violence to the mental strain and heightened stress levels experienced by individuals during these challenging times.

It is disheartening that those who care for others are being subjected to such mistreatment.

According to data from healthcare analytics company Press Ganey, two nurses are assaulted every day in Georgia.

Shockingly, one in four nurses reports experiencing physical assault.

The implementation of the Safer Hospitals Act aims to address this issue by strengthening penalties for attacks against hospital workers and empowering campus police departments.

Prior to the enactment of this law, certain Georgia hospitals lacked the legal authority to employ certified police officers, thus depriving them of the immediate security provided by an on-site police force.

Now, hospitals will have the capacity to establish a dedicated police presence within their facilities, akin to campus or university police, ensuring rapid response to any emergencies within the hospital premises.

While the Safer Hospitals Act marks a significant step towards improving the safety of healthcare workers, there is recognition that more work needs to be done.

Further initiatives, such as enhanced signage in emergency rooms, are being considered to provide additional protection and reassurance.

For now, these changes are expected to instill greater peace of mind among healthcare professionals.

Governor Kemp hopes that the implementation of this law will deter potential attackers and create a safer environment for those who tirelessly serve the community’s medical needs.

The Safer Hospitals Act is an essential first step towards ensuring the well-being and security of healthcare workers, and it sets the foundation for further advancements in the future.

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