Oregon bill would extend whistleblower protection to non-nursing hospital staff

A bill before Oregon’s state Senate would give non-nursing hospital staff members workplace protection when reporting health care practices that endanger patient safety.

Currently, Oregon nurses are legally protected against retaliation in hospitals when reporting practices that jeopardize patient health or safety. If it becomes law, Senate bill 237 would extend the same protections to Oregon’s non-nursing hospital staff, including lab and X-ray technicians, certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses and others.

Advocates of the bill say it is necessary because workplace retaliation against healthcare workers who report patient safety issues is common, and filing a complaint with a regulatory agency or speaking truthfully to an on-site regulatory inspector can pose significant career risks. The bill would improve patient care and safety by legally prohibiting retaliation against staff by their hospital employers.

The Senate committee studying the bill also heard testimony that because of the “warm and fuzzy” relationship between hospitals and state and federal legislators, hospital health care workers also need protection from retaliation from state and federal regulatory agency employees. In addition, state Senators were urged to prohibit the disclosure of any personal identifiers of any complainant to any other person or entity.

Source: Salem Statesman Journal

You can read the draft legislation here.

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