Model Program to Provide Ins. Benefit for 12,000 California, Nevada RNs Hurt by Workplace Assaults
Will also Cover Accidents and/or Injuries
A landmark program to provide supplemental insurance protection for registered nurses injured in workplace assaults or injuries went live this week for 12,000 RNs who work in 28 California and Nevada hospitals that are a part of one of the nation’s largest hospital systems, Dignity Health.
Under the RN Accident Prevention Program, Dignity hospitals commit to joining with the nurses, represented by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United and National Nurses Organizing Committee-Nevada/NNU to work to eliminate workplace violence, accidents and injuries, such as needle stick injuries – and to back it up financially with a landmark supplemental insurance plan.
The policy provides RNs with benefits of up to $200,000 in the event of accidental death, felonious assault, contraction of HIV or hepatitis from needle sticks, as well as other indemnity benefits and trauma counseling. The program covers Dignity hospitals in Northern California, Southern California, the Sacramento region, San Bernardino, the Central California Coast, and Las Vegas.
Kathy Dennis, a Sacramento RN who works at Dignity’s Mercy General Hospital, called on other hospitals to follow the example.
“When an RN goes to work each day to care for her patients and their families, it’s important for everyone, including the RN’s own family, to have the assurance that hospital is dedicated to preventing workplace violence,” Dennis said.
Enactment of the program, negotiated between Dignity, and CNA and NNOC last fall, comes as California considered legislation to step up violence prevention measures in all California hospitals.
‘Every hospital should have zero tolerance protocols on workplace violence’
SB 1299 by Sen. Alex Padilla, which passed the Senate Health Committee Wednesday, requires the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board to adopt standards requiring hospitals to establish workplace violence prevention plans to protect health care workers and other facility personnel from aggressive and violent behavior, and document and report incidents of violence to Cal-OSHA.
“Every hospital should establish with zero tolerance protocols that send a clear and unmistakable message that the best solution to the threat of violence is prevention,” says Bonnie Castillo, RN, CNA’s Legislative Director.
“Hospitals should be a safe, healing, therapeutic environment where everyone, nurses, other workers, patients, families, and visitors should have the expectation of personal safety that is the obligation of the hospitals to establish and enforce. The Dignity plan is one step. Now all California hospitals should step up to the plate and join us in supporting, not opposing SB 1299,” Castillo said.
Testifying in support of SB 1299 Tuesday, Sacramento RN Rick Domenico noted, “no bill will eliminate violence but this bill will go a long way to securing a safer work place by setting standards that make hospital do what they have not done up to this point. It is long overdue. It’s time to care for the caregivers.”