Nursing homes, hospitals and other healthcare providers could be forced to shell out billions of dollars in order to comply with a proposed federal bill aimed at protecting workers from violence at work. 

The Congressional Budget Office released a cost estimate report Wednesday on the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1309).  

The CBO projected the proposal would cost private facilities at least $2.7 billion to comply within the first two years and $1.3 billion annually thereafter.  

Meanwhile, it would cost at least $100 million in the first two years for public facilities to comply and $55 million annually thereafter, report authors said. 

The legislation would require the Secretary of Labor to issue a final rule requiring healthcare and social services employers to develop and implement a comprehensive plan for protecting workers and other personnel from workplace violence.  

If the bill is passed, skilled nursing facilities and hospitals would be required to comply with it as a condition of partaking in the Medicare program.

Requirements would include: providing annual staff training, investigating violent incidents, developing violence prevention plans, maintaining and retaining records for at least five years, and reporting and evaluating information. 

The legislation was approved by the House Committee on Education and Labor in June, Bloomberg Law reported. It has also been referred to the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees.