Pa. House votes to toughen penalties for assaults on health care workers

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The state House of Representatives has voted to expand assault protections for Pennsylvania’s health care workers.

House Bill 646 would place all health care workers into a protected class where a simple assault is treated as an aggravated assault. The penalty is raised from a second-degree misdemeanor to a second-degree felony.

The protected class already includes doctors, nurses, nurse aides, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians.

The bill headed to the Senate would allow the enhanced penalty when any licensed or certified health care professional is assaulted on the job; including social workers, pharmacists, physical therapists, athletic trainers, dietician-nutritionists, massage therapists, optometrists, and physician assistants.

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