On January 3, 2008, Governor Corzine signed the “Violence Prevention in Health Care Facilities Act.”  This statute is intended to protect health care workers from violence that occurs in health care settings by requiring the establishment of violence prevention programs in these facilities. The new statute, which defines “violence” or “violent act” to mean physical assault, and physical or credible verbal threat of assault or harm against a health care worker, applies to general or special hospitals or nursing homes licensed by the Department of Health and Senior Services, in addition to state or county psychiatric hospitals and state developmental centers.

By July 3, 2008, all covered health care facilities must establish a violence prevention committee, which includes a representative of management, or his or her designee, who will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the program. At least 50% of the members of the committee must be health care workers who provide direct patient care or otherwise have contact with patients. The Act also provides that by July 2009, such committees must develop and maintain a written violence prevention plan that identifies workplace risks, and provides specific methods to address them.  The Act also requires annual violence prevention training, recordkeeping of violent acts, and post-incident response systems.

Note: This article was published in the May 2008 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.

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