Testimony on Bill 6741: An Act Improving the Safety of Heath Care Providers and Patients

Public Health Committee
March 13, 2023
Submitted by: Stephen Wanczyk-Karp, LMSW

On behalf of the National Association of Social Workers, CT Chapter representing nearly 2,300 members we support bill 6741.

Health care workers and social service workers are amongst the professions with the highest number of assaults. This bill seeks to address that issue and will help to reduce violence against health care workers, including hospital social workers.

The lack of civility is reaching epidemic proportions. Causes may include the political polarization of our society, an effect of the ongoing pandemic that has increased stress and anxiety, and persons who are not feeling well thus not on their best behavior. Regardless of causation, the impact on health care providers has been profound, contributing to workers not wanting to be employed in hospital settings. We believe a public health campaign as indicated in section 1 will assist in addressing issues of civility.

A large segment of social workers will tell you that they have, at some point in their practice been verbally abused, physically harmed or threatened with injury. While to some extent it comes with the job, it is not acceptable and must not be tolerated.

We recommend that when a hospital requires a person with a nonemergency health care need to leave the facility it first be determined if the person’s behavior is related to a mental health condition. When it is determined that a mental health condition exists, we urge that hospitals not be allowed to remove a person from the facility until an assessment is made as to the patient’s personal safety.

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