HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — A bill that strengthens penalties for assaults on healthcare workers and technicians is now signed into law.

Governor wolf signed Act 51 yesterday.

The bill, introduced by Senator Judy Ward, makes assaults with a physical injury a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

“Violence against employees is much more prevalent in healthcare settings than in most other professions. Every member of the healthcare community deserves the peace of mind to know they are better protected against the threat of being attacked at work,” said Ward, who is a Registered Nurse.

“I am thankful that we were able to close this loophole and ensure all healthcare professionals can keep their focus on patients.”

It also extends the protections to a bigger range of healthcare workers and technicians, including doctors, residents, nurses and paramedics.

The new law will go into effect in 60 days.