LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Under new legislation signed on Wednesday, healthcare workers will now be more protected on the job. In addition, the new laws will incentivize more people to enter the health care workforce.

“Health care workers face rising rates of bullying, viciousness, and violence,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer as she signed the legislation. “These bills will protect health care workers and help Michiganders in the industry, as well as those who are considering a career in health care, know that the state of Michigan has their back.”

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Representative Mike Mueller (R-Linden) who sponsored one of the bills, said it increases fines against those who assault health professionals or medical volunteers without a weapon who are on the job at the time of the crime.

“Michigan’s dedicated health care professionals continue to go above and beyond to safeguard the health of our residents, despite growing challenges and intimidation,” said Rep. Mueller. “This new law is a step toward providing a secure working environment for hospital personnel, discouraging acts of violence, and ensuring that anyone who targets them with violence is held responsible.”

Representative Kelly Breen (D-Novi) also sponsored a similar bill. It increases fines against those who assault health professionals or medical volunteers on the job with a weapon. Both bills also require operators of health facilities to post signs describing enhanced fines under these bills.

“Doctors, nurses, and other medical workers deserve greater protections from physical violence on the job,” said state Rep. Breen. “I’m proud of the work to get this bipartisan package signed into law, and I want to thank the countless nurses and other advocates who pushed for this critical legislation.”

Those in the healthcare industry also praised the new protections. “Healthcare workers provide care to anyone who enters a hospital and the increased penalties for assault against a healthcare worker demonstrates these crimes are taken extremely seriously by hospital administrators, lawmakers and law enforcement,” said Brian Peters, CEO of Michigan Health & Hospital Association.  “Physical and verbal acts of violence against healthcare workers and volunteers are unacceptable.”