The article “Healthcare workers face violence ‘epidemic’ ” could not have come at a more appropriate time—during National Patient Safety Awareness Week. Creating a healing environment for patients includes creating a safe space for healthcare workers to deliver care.
Last year, Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) added language to the HHS’ budget calling for a report on options to reduce assaults on hospital staff. The appropriation directs the department “to work with the Department of Labor to provide a report to the Committees on Appropriations in the House of Representatives and the Senate 180 days after enactment on how they can collaborate to provide protections and support safe environments for health care workers, patients, families and visitors.” The report should arrive later this month.
Hospital and healthcare workers are four times more likely to be victims of workplace violence than their peers. A survey of Missouri hospitals found 54% view workplace violence or violent behavior as among their top three organizational threats. Unfortunately, federal guidance from the CMS and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration do not align. CMS regulations focus on patients, while OSHA focuses on employees. Hospitals need clarity and consistency.
Protecting patients and caregivers will require both regulatory and cultural change. Communities have an important role to play in ensuring that hospitals are a safe space.
In the article, Cleveland Clinic CEO Dr. Tom Mihaljevic said, “It is an epidemic, because it is an epidemic that nobody speaks about.”
It’s time for that to change.
President and CEO
Missouri Hospital Association