Direct care workers in New York will receive the same anti-violence protections already provided to registered nurses, emergency medical technicians and firefighters in the state, under legislation recently signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

S.3621-A is effective Jan. 1, Sen. Rich Funke, who authored the bill, reported Nov. 23. The legislation classifies the assault of a worker providing direct patient care as second-degree assault. The law defines “patient care worker” as any staff member, other than registered nurses, whose principle responsibility is to provide direct healthcare for one or more patients in a residential healthcare facility, nursing home, hospital or general hospital, or government agency, including any chronic disease hospital, maternity hospital, outpatient department, emergency center or surgical center.

“Every day, thousands of workers provide outstanding service in nursing homes, healthcare centers and long-term care facilities across our community,” Funke said. “Their work is important, the environment is challenging and they deserve to know they are safe on the job.”