A local lawmaker has drafted a plan to better protect those working in the health care profession safe from attackers.

With an increase in attacks on health care workers across the profession, State Representative Hank Vaupel of Handy Township is looking to help make their jobs safer. He testified Tuesday for 2 bills, House Bills 6203 and 6204. If passed into law, they would add health care workers to the list of first responders and make it a felony for any who attack them while they are performing their job. Vaupel said by making it a felony it becomes a warning to people that if you assault a worker while they are trying to provide service, there will be more severe penalties, up to and including jail.

Vaupel said these attacks often happen in emergency rooms, where people come in for something drug related, or feel like they aren’t being treated quickly enough or the way to want to. Under current law, many professionals feel nothing comes from reporting crimes in the ER, and thus many have stopped reporting them. Some health care professionals have even left the field for fear of their own safety. Vaupel said this will assure that the crimes will not be brushed away and will hopefully give workers more peace of mind while trying to offer care. The proposed bills are under consideration in the House Law and Justice Committee. (MK)