Cohen Amendment to Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act Passes House

April 16, 2021
Press Release
Provision extends protections to employees of Alzheimer’s and memory care facilities

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today voted for, and the House passed, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act with an amendment the Congressman offered extending the bill’s protections to employees of Alzheimer’s and memory care facilities.

Congressman Cohen spoke from the House floor this morning in favor of his amendment. In those remarks, he said:

“Over the past 13 months, our health care and social service workers have gone above and beyond in their efforts to keep us healthy and safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This bill, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, is one way for Congress to help keep them healthy and safe.

My amendment is a simple one.

It expressly adds Alzheimer’s and memory care facilities to the types of residential treatment facilities covered by this bill.

With the aging population in the United States, Alzheimer’s and dementia is growing in prevalence. In the United States, more than 5.5 million people are living with Alzheimer’s. That number is expected to increase to 14 million people by 2060.

Alzheimer’s is currently the 6th leading cause of death among U.S. adults, but may be third for older adults, behind only heart disease and cancer.

The increase in Alzheimer’s diagnoses means that more health care and social workers will helping these patients and their families try to manage the disease and cope with its effects.

As anyone who has had a loved one with Alzheimer’s knows, an Alzheimer’s patient can become aggressive for any number of reasons.

As someone with Alzheimer’s loses awareness and cognitive ability, he or she may become aggressive or agitated due to confusion, hunger, pain, or other inability to effectively communicate.

Alzheimer’s aggression is one of the primary reasons that loved ones are placed in a memory care facility, as it can affect a family member caretaker’s own health and well-being.

The health care workers and social service workers who help Alzheimer’s patients and their families manage this cruel disease should not be overlooked by the protections that this bill affords.”

Watch the entire speech here.

The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, which was introduced by Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02),  provides health care and social service workers the protection they deserve by compelling OSHA to issue an interim final standard within one year and a final standard within 42 months, requiring employers in the health care and social services sectors to implement workplace violence prevention programs.

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