HARRISBURG – Legislation was signed into law by the governor which will strengthen penalties for assaults against healthcare practitioners and technicians. Existing state law provides stiffer penalties for assaults against certain healthcare professionals, including doctors, residents, nurses, and paramedics. Act 51 of 2020 will extend the same protections to a broader range of healthcare practitioners and technicians, including physical therapists, optometrists, podiatrists, and physician assistants. Under the new law, the penalty for an assault against a healthcare practitioner in which there is bodily injury would be upgraded from a second degree misdemeanor to a second degree felony. The measure was supported by several organizations including the PA Medical Society, PA State Nurses Association, and the PA Hospital Association.