Texas lawmakers have responded to an uptick in violence against healthcare professionals by passing Senate Bill 240. SB240 is the result of a dedicated campaign by healthcare professionals to secure a legislative response to violence in healthcare. This legislation establishes an active role for nurses in developing facility policies, anti-retaliation protections, and more. SB240 requires facilities to create committees to evaluate hospital violence prevention policies and practices and to create a facility plan.
SB240 Requires Workplace Violence Safety Plans
The Texas Senate passed SB240 in May 2023. The bill requires healthcare facilities to adopt, implement, and enforce a written workplace violence prevention plan to “protect healthcare providers and employees from violent behavior and threats of violent behavior” at these facilities. The bill also aims to mitigate violence in healthcare by requiring “healthcare providers and employees to report incidents of workplace violence through the facility’s existing occurrence reporting systems.” SB240 requires Texas healthcare facilities to adopt workplace violence prevention plans by September 1, 2024.
The Texas Nurses Association has been pursuing a bill to prevent workplace violence in healthcare over recent years. The TNA points to “an alarming increase in incidents of workplace violence against nurses and other healthcare workers over recent years.” In response, TNA designated SB240 as one of its top priorities, and, recognizing the severity of the problem, so did Texas legislators. As a result of this bill, nurses are empowered to speak out against violence in healing institutions and to inform institutional workplace violence safety plans.
The facilities specified in SB240 include:
- licensed hospitals
- hospitals operated by Texas state agencies that are exempt from licensing
- licensed nursing facilities that employ at least two registered nurses
- home and community support services agencies that employ at least two registered nurses and are licensed or licensed and certified
- licensed ambulatory surgical centers
- freestanding emergency medical care facilities
- licensed psychiatric hospitals
National Implications of SB240
Though SB240 is specific to Texas, national organizations have also created policies to prevent workplace violence in healthcare. In early 2023, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) convened a panel of small businesses to offer input on a prospective rule, thus jumpstarting the process of developing new federal regulations. The panel’s small entity representatives (SERs) included hospitals, emergency rooms, psychiatric hospitals, home healthcare agencies, emergency medical services, and social assistance providers.
OSHA stated that any forthcoming rule would establish the following:
- a programmatic approach to workplace violence prevention
- workplace violence hazard assessments
- workplace violence control measures
- preventive training
- violent incident investigations and record-keeping
- anti-retaliatory provisions
- strategies that avoid stigmatization of healthcare patients and social assistance clients
By creating this rule, OSHA is responding to the reality that “nonfatal workplace violence is more widespread in the healthcare and social assistance sectors than in any other industry.” In 2019, the rate of nonfatal workplace violence incidents requiring the worker to take time off was nearly five times greater in privately operated healthcare and social assistance establishments than in private industry. These statistics will continue to prompt a federal response, so healthcare facilities nationwide are well advised to preemptively consider solutions to prevent workplace violence in healthcare that conform to developing OSHA standards.
Facilities Achieve Compliance with CENTEGIX CrisisAlert
CENTEGIX innovates technology to empower and protect healthcare professionals. The CENTEGIX CrisisAlert badge is a simple, always-available way to mitigate the risk of workplace violence in healthcare. The CrisisAlert badge is a discreet, wearable device that allows healthcare providers to request help during an emergency. CrisisAlert provides complete coverage for healthcare staff throughout a facility’s campus, including outdoors, thus ensuring that they have access to assistance at all times anywhere on campus.
The CENTEGIX CrisisAlert solution enables facilities to comply with the new Texas SB240 Law, as well as the Joint Commission standards and current OSHA and accreditation guidelines. By helping facilities comply with existing and developing workplace violence safety plan requirements, CrisisAlert helps protect healthcare providers and nurtures a culture of safety. Within this environment, healthcare professionals can better provide high-quality patient care.
CENTEGIX CrisisAlert Reduces Staff Turnover
CENTEGIX CrisisAlert helps alleviate staff turnover by mitigating employees’ safety concerns. Healthcare facilities’ efforts to foster a safe work environment play a vital role in the recruitment and retention of top talent. Adding CrisisAlert to facilities’ everyday safety protocols increases employee job satisfaction and loyalty; these factors directly impact a worker’s decision to stay at a job. In 2022, healthcare facilities experienced a 22.5% turnover rate of staff RNs. This turnover is costly and negatively impacts patient care. Furthermore, the common practice of hiring travel nurses is expensive and can negatively affect staff cohesion and workplace satisfaction.
With CENTEGIX CrisisAlert, healthcare administrators can reduce turnover by keeping staff safe. Industry experts are seeking ways to assist healthcare facilities in preventing turnover and securing top talent. In the workplace, Chief Nursing Officers (CNOs) are responsible when crises occur in their facilities. By implementing safety solutions that allow CNOs to implement facility safety protocols rapidly, facilities create a workplace in which CNOs are empowered and supported.
CrisisAlert performs the following integral functions in facilities’ workplace violence safety plans:
- Automated data collection: CrisisAlert records incidents of workplace violence, the total number of alerts, and training efforts.
- Total facility coverage includes emergency rooms, parking lots, and multiple floors.
- Innovative technology: a self-contained, self-healing Bluetooth network secures every square foot of facility property.
- One-button activation: employees can rapidly and discreetly request help with their wearable badges, allowing them to easily execute safety training during a crisis.
- Precise location accuracy: the CrisisAlert platform delivers accurate floor- and room-level location information, ensuring first responders know exactly where to go.
- Robust dashboard reporting: the CrisisAlert Dashboard equips leaders with actionable data to best understand how to support their teams and facilities.
CrisisAlert Mitigates Workplace Violence in Healthcare
CENTEGIX CrisisAlert technology can keep your workforce safe. CrisisAlert’s key benefits include:
- Comply with Texas’ Senate Bill No. 240 by implementing the CrisisAlert incident response system.
- Alleviate staff turnover due to safety concerns. Our CrisisAlert badge enables rapid, discreet communication during an incident which can help to prevent further escalation. Responders receive the name and precise location where help is needed, improving incident response time.
- Fulfill Workplace Violence Prevention Standards. Meet current OSHA and Joint Commission accreditation guidelines for workplace violence prevention; CrisisAlert automates data collection of incidents of workplace violence, total number of alerts, and training.
- Avoid privacy concerns and staff adoption issues. Our CrisisAlert solution doesn’t require staff to download an app or use their personal device to send an alert.
CrisisAlert can help leaders ensure that healthcare staff receive the support they deserve during a crisis and that facilities’ workplace violence safety plans can be executed effectively.
Emergencies can occur at any moment in all types of healthcare facilities, including hospitals, surgery centers, clinics, or long-term care facilities. In many of these environments, changes to infrastructure aren’t feasible or affordable. These changes can also take months to complete. CENTEGIX CrisisAlert can be installed with no alterations to the physical structure or electrical wiring, and installation can be completed with minimal disruption to patient care. CrisisAlert not only helps mitigate workplace violence in healthcare but seeks to assist healthcare providers in continuing their important roles uninterrupted.
CENTEGIX CrisisAlert reduces workplace violence in healthcare. Learn more about how your facility can achieve compliance and create a culture of safety with CrisisAlert technology.