Combating Violence

February 11, 2019 By: Bob Atlas

Last week’s tragic shooting outside a Maryland hospital was yet another reminder that health care facilities — seen as safe harbors — are not immune to the violence that plagues our communities.

That message also was driven home during a recent hospital visit, when executives told me that a spate of multiple-victim shootings in their normally quiet county had truly shaken associates and affected their work performance. The CEO of another hospital lamented countless assaults on hospital staff by both patients and visitors.

These incidences aren’t rare. Maryland has the 10th worst rate of violent crime in the U.S. That’s despite our ranking 1st in average household income.

As health care leaders, we are called to act to address violence of all kinds, both in our communities and especially in our workplaces. And many hospitals are doing so.

That includes more than treating wounds. You screen patients for violence exposure, offer behavioral management and social services, lead violence intervention programs, and so much more.

Your Maryland Hospital Association (MHA) is advocating with government and other stakeholders for needed policies and interventions. We are fostering collective action to help you strengthen protections on your campuses and build the resilience of associates.

Last year, MHA and the Maryland Nurses Association formed the Workplace Violence Prevention Steering Committee, and both associations hosted a summit focused on workplace violence.

MHA also is focused on human trafficking prevention, early identification protocols, and progressive solutions to support forensic nurse examiners and hospital-based SAFE programs.

MHA and Maryland’s hospitals are redoubling efforts to ensure safe environments for caregivers and patients. We also hope to contribute to combating violence in our communities.