The consequences are far-reaching and would necessitate the creation of prevention policies, environmental changes, security requirements, training, record-keeping updates, and protections for those who report incidents.
HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY REACTION:
This proposed legislation is being opposed by the American Hospital Association (AHA) an industry advocacy group described as “… the national organization that represents and serves … nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members … “
Specifically, AHA cites “prohibitive costs” as a main source of their objection, citing significantly decreased hospital revenues due to COVID-19 related costs and losses. AHA also points out that “hospitals have already implemented specifically tailored policies and programs to address workplace violence.” They go on to say that “we do not believe that the OSHA standards required by H.R. 1195 are warranted, nor do we support an expedited approach that would deny the public the opportunity to review and comment on proposed regulations. “
On the other hand, the proposed legislation is supported by the American Public Health Association (APHA) citing recent statistics showing the incidence of violence against healthcare workers has been increasing steadily and stating, “Assaults and other violence experienced by health care and social assistance workers is a preventable problem that requires a public health approach.”
The American Nurses Association, American Psychiatric Nurses Association, National Nurses United, other major nursing unions, and the American College of Emergency Physicians have all supported this legislation as well.
CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE (CBO) FISCAL ANALYSIS:
CBO conducted a preliminary cost analysis of this proposed legislation. CBO estimates that the annual net cost to private entities would be at least $1.8 billion in the first two years the final rule is in effect and $750 million annually thereafter. As currently written, the bill would apply to a wide range of health care facilities including both public and private facilities, as well as hospitals and skilled nursing centers operated by state and local governments. CBO estimates that in the first two years in which the final rule is in effect, the annual net cost to public entities would be at least $100 million. CBO also estimates public entities would spend approximately $55 million annually to comply.
The CBO also anticipates these costs would be partially offset by savings from a decrease in payments for workers’ compensation claims that result from workplace violence, which currently amount to several hundred million dollars annually.
The CBO’s analysis of the fiscal impact of this bill also reflects current efforts to mitigate the effects of violence, as cited by AHA and notes that many states already require actions like those outlined in this bill. CBO also anticipates additional benefits to healthcare organizations, including reduced staff turnover and absenteeism, which would represent the potential for additional savings for the healthcare industry.