Ciresi introduces legislation to protect patients and medical personnel from retaliation

HARRISBURG, March 21 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, today introduced legislation, (H.B. 641) that would protect patients and medical personnel from health care facility retaliation for filing grievances and complaints.

“When mistakes are made at a medical care facility, patients can suffer physically, emotionally and financially,” Ciresi said. “Patients and medical personnel should be able to report errors and unsafe conditions without fear of retaliation for speaking up.”

House Bill 641 would protect patients and medical personnel who file grievances or complaints with the facility or its staff, entities charged with accrediting or evaluating health care facilities or a governmental entity. It would also protect people who initiate, participate in, or cooperate with investigations or administrative hearings related to facility quality of care, services or conditions.

As part of the protection, the bill would establish a rebuttable presumption that discriminatory treatment against patients and medical personnel was retaliatory if done within a set time after the filing of a grievance or complaint. If a facility is found to have engaged in discrimination or retaliation, victims would be entitled to civil and criminal penalties, including fines and restitution, for lost wages, work benefits and legal costs.

“When passed, my legislation will help guarantee the vital right of patients and medical personnel to report unsafe practices, making medical facilities safer for patients and their employees,” Ciresi said.