A little over a month ago, Scripps Health made a plea to patients in San Diego: Be kind to healthcare workers. They’re exhausted, they’re burned out, and they increasingly have to deal with demeaning and verbally abusive comments from patients.

Now, several states are considering bills that would offer some form of protection for healthcare workers, whether it be from physical or verbal assault or other forms of abuse.

Oregon, for example, is mulling a House bill that would make it third-degree assault for someone to intentionally or recklessly injure a hospital worker while they’re performing official duties. If found guilty of such a crime, the punishment would entail a five-year prison term or $125,000, or both in some cases.

A House bill in Michigan, meanwhile, would incur a less harsh penalty for that kind of behavior – making it a misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail or a $1,000 fine, for physical assault of a healthcare worker during their duties.

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