OSHA Fine for Failure to Handle Patient Harassment

Epic Health Services, a national network of agencies across the county, has had an OSHA fine levied against it. The fine stems from Epic’s failure to address complaints by an employee that a patient was verbally and physically abusing the caregiver.

The complaint states that the employee reported the abuse to Epic several times but management turned a blind eye. Further, the complaint suggests that the agency did not have the proper mechanisms in place to handle the complaint: take the complaint, investigate, and make a proper determination on how to deal with the abuse.

As OSHA determined that the complaint and lack of action by Epic was willful, the federal governmental agency levied a total of $98,000 in fines. This isn’t the first time OSHA has levied fines on healthcare entities. For many years, OSHA has been warning and providing information aimed at healthcare providers in order to help them develop programs to deal with patient abuse towards an employee.

Since Epic is a large organization, it’s safe to say that such a fine will not largely impact their ability to operate. However, for many agencies across the country, such an added expense – on top of the associated legal fees, can be devastating. The best solution for your agency is to develop policies and procedures to address an employee’s complaint regarding patient abuse towards your staff. Spend a few hours doing this now rather than spending thousands of dollars later handling an issue that could have easily been addressed and taken care of.

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