Workplace violence is a major safety issue in hospitals and health systems across South Carolina. Studies show that healthcare workers are significantly more likely to be the victims of violence and abuse than workers in other industries, and SCHA is committed to making hospitals a safer place to work, visit and receive care.
While no legislation has been filed in the Senate to address this issue, Representative Peter McCoy (R-Charleston) has filed H.3483 to provide enhanced protections for caregivers and first responders in South Carolina. The bill would increase penalties for unlawfully injuring healthcare professionals and first responders to send a clear message that we will not stand for abusing the individuals who protect and care for us every day. H.3483 currently resides in the House Judiciary Committee and SCHA is working with stakeholders for a hearing on the bill.
In addition, the opioid epidemic remains a critical issue in South Carolina. The Governor’s Opioid Emergency Response Team and the House Opioid Study Committee are working on proposals to reduce opioid abuse in the state. SCHA is a founding member of the South Carolina Behavioral Health Coalition, a partnership of key community stakeholders focused on improving the behavioral health landscape in the state. We will work with our partners to reduce opioid misuse while ensuring that policy proposals are not onerous or cumbersome for the hospital community.
And while we recognize that the debate surrounding the Affordable Care Act causes uncertainty for our members, we will continue to look for ways that we can work with state and federal leaders to determine a coverage solution that best suits South Carolina. Whether through executive or legislative action, expanding health coverage remains a significant priority for SCHA. Expanding access t to telemedicine will also remain a priority as we push forward with a legislative agenda that will make our state a better place to provide and receive healthcare services.
The South Carolina General Assembly returned to Columbia for the second year of a two-year session on January 9 and immediately focused on the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project in Fairfield County. State legislators will have a full plate of issues to address in 2018, and our goal is to make sure improving healthcare is a top priority for lawmakers.
Would you like to become more engaged in improving health policy in South Carolina? Join SCHA’s grassroots advocacy program, Leadership for Education and Advocacy (LEAd), and help shape the debate for the future of healthcare in our state. When South Carolina’s hospitals are united in our goals and messaging, we can make a difference for the communities we serve.