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Michigan has 2 new laws going into effect on March 4 to combat the frightening rise in verbal and physical attacks on healthcare workers. The bipartisan bills, signed into law by the governor in December, double the penalties and fines for assaulting healthcare professionals or volunteers, according to a news item in Crain’s Grand Rapid Business. Offenders face up to a 93-day jail sentence and a $1,000 fine for assaulting workers on duty. If the assault results in “great bodily harm,” the penalty increases to 1 year in jail and a $2,000 fine. Assault involving a weapon may lead to up to 4 years in prison and a $4,000 fine. Additionally, patients who assault healthcare workers could face criminal charges, too, although the increased penalty wouldn’t apply. The laws extend protection to visitors and patient families as well. Hospitals in Michigan are posting signs informing people of the steep penalties, such as one sign that reads, “Assault is not part of our job. It is a crime.

Future rulemaking: In the news report, the chief nursing officer of Trinity Health Grand Rapids said she would like to see an iteration to apply the higher penalties to patients who intentionally lash out. Meanwhile, pending federal legislation is currently circulating that would make assaulting a healthcare worker a federal felony.

Law Doubles the Penalties for Assaulting Healthcare Workers in Michigan