Marcy Jack, JD, BSN, CPHRM, CPHQ, vice president and chief quality and safety officer at Beebe Healthcare, recently received the Delaware Healthcare Association's AHA Grass Roots Champion Award at the Delaware Healthcare Forum, which was held virtually.
Jack was recognized because of the work she has done to help stop violence against healthcare workers. She and several other Beebe team members focused on keeping employees and visitors safe from patients or visitors who sometimes commit assaults in facilities or on health campuses.
“Marcy’s commitment to safety makes our healthcare system a better place not only for patients and visitors but also the colleagues she works with side by side each day,” said Rick Schaffner, RN, Beebe Healthcare executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Marcy’s work makes an impact on all levels of the healthcare system, and we are so glad to see her dedication recognized at the Delaware Healthcare Forum.”
Jack and her team were concerned that Delaware law has enhanced penalties against perpetrators who assault physicians and nurses, but the penalties were not in place when the same assault was made upon other hospital employees. Other healthcare workers, such as nursing assistants, public safety officers, and those who sit with or transport patients are just as likely, if not more so, to be the victims of assault in a hospital.
The uneven charging has sometimes acted as an impediment for some victims to pursue charges knowing their assault was not as highly valued in terms of penalty as the same assault made on a physician or nurse.
Jack approached the legislative committee and presented the issue as well as a draft bill to equalize penalties when any employee is assaulted in a hospital or other healthcare setting. The Delaware Healthcare Association board agreed to place this on its 2020 advocacy agenda.
Bipartisan sponsorship was rounded up in both the Delaware House and Senate, and Jack made numerous trips to the state capital to advocate for the legislation and testify in the committee and on the House floor. Her passion, tireless advocacy, and persistence have been instrumental in the advancement of this legislation, HB 144.
The bill passed the Delaware House unanimously. It was released from the Senate Judiciary Committee, but the COVID-19 pandemic left it on the sidelines as the Delaware General Assembly canceled session.