Bill makes it a crime to threaten or attack a healthcare worker

MADISON, Wis. — It would be a crime to physically attack or threaten a healthcare worker under a bill the Wisconsin Assembly must approve Wednesday.

The proposal with bipartisan support creates the new crime of assault and battery against a person who is a health care provider. It expands current law that makes it a crime to commit assault and battery against a nurse, emergency medical provider or person who works in an emergency department.

Healthcare providers told a public hearing earlier this month of cases where patients threatened doctors and others trying to provide care.

The measure also makes it a crime to threaten a healthcare worker as part of their official duties or in response to something that happened in a healthcare facility. It also extends to family members of a health care provider.

He could face up to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The measure has broad support from more than two dozen health care and law enforcement organizations, including the Wisconsin Medical Society, Wisconsin Hospital Association, SSM Health and the Marshfield Clinic Health Care System.

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