Measure increasing safety of hospital workers coming up for Senate committee hearing

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Legislation that has the backing of hospitals in Alaska including Juneau's Bartlett Regional Hospital is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee Friday.

Bartlett CEO Chuck Bill explained  that  House Bill 312 is an effort to improve the safety of hospital workers.  It would make an assault on a medical professional in a health care facility a felony.  It would allow police to arrest a person without a warrant for a misdemeanor assault.  

Bill outlined the need for the change in the law while a guest on Action Line Monday.  "We've seen across the state violence against our workforce go up by 30 to 40 percent in the last few years.  I attribute a lot of that to the use of meth and challenges that brings to personalities."

The hospital administrator talked about one of the incidents at Bartlett.  "One of nurses was assaulted by a patient who took his IV tubing and tried to strangle her.  She got helped and survived it, but she's obviously one of the strong proponents for this bill."

Bill said he moved to double his security force about 15 months ago in response to the increased violence.

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing is scheduled for 1:30 Friday afternoon in the Beltz Room, Room 105 at the State Capitol.


More from News of the North