SEVERAL HEALTH care workers at state-run facilities like New Hampshire Hospital and the Sununu Center have been injured by patients this year, and Executive Councilor Joe Kenney doesn’t like the fact that their names and injuries are made public.
Kenney raised the issue with Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers on Wednesday, as the council considered another request for continued pay and benefits to a health care worker injured at a state-run institution, the Sununu Youth Services Center.
“We have a lot of ‘in the line of duty’ injuries,” said Kenney, alluding to recent coverage of the issue in the New Hampshire Union Leader. “Sometimes, state employees don’t want their names in the newspaper saying they were injured. Is there a way to temper that type of publicity?”
Meyers explained that the department needs Executive Council approval to certify the commissioner’s determination that the workplace injury qualifies for continued pay and benefits, and that the documentation provided is part of the public record.
“I understand the concern that some individuals may not want the circumstances of these instances publicized,” he said, “but we are limited by state law. Based on state law and how it is practiced today, in those items that do come before the council, the individuals are identified.”
The Legislature would have to specifically exempt such material from disclosure, and Gov. Chris Sununu would have to sign the change into law.
“I’d be happy to work with the Legislature to revisit this,” said Meyers.
Kenney urged him to do so. “I’m not so sure that if I’m injured at a state facility, I want everyone to know, so please work with the Legislature,” he said.