CEOs from 10 hospital systems are working together to create a new safety standard for healthcare workers as the pandemic has highlighted the risks and inequities in the industry.
The group, formed early this year and known as the CEO Coalition, shared their signed declaration on Tuesday and said they hope to kick off a national movement to protect workers' psychological, emotional and physical safety as well as promote health justice.
"We are taking collective actions to protect healthcare workers at every level to ensure they have the systems, tools and resources they need and deserve to feel safe and thrive," Cleveland Clinic CEO Dr. Tom Mihaljevic said in a statement.
The founding coalition members include the top executives from Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, Hackensack Meridian Health, Intermountain Healthcare, Providence, SSM Health, Mass General Brigham, Henry Ford Health System, Cleveland Clinic, UCLA Hospital System and HealthPartners, but founders say they welcome leaders from other hospitals and health systems to join the effort.
"There has never been a more important time in our nation for healthcare leaders to step up together," Dr. Susan Ehrlich, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital CEO said in a statement. "We hope other healthcare executives will help catalyze this work by signing the declaration and turning these principles into action."
The coalition's efforts come as the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill, H.R. 1195, that will create a minimum standard for employers to protect healthcare staff against violence in the workplace. The standard is based on voluntary Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines.
Declaration of Principles:
Safeguarding Psychological and Emotional Safety:
- Investing in processes and technologies that reduce emotional and cognitive burdens on team members and restore human connection to the healthcare experience.
- Creating practices and policies that advance open communication between team members and leaders so people feel safe to speak up, bringing their full selves to work.
- Providing resources to assess and support team members' emotional, social, and spiritual health, and alleviating the stigma and deterrents to seek support.
Promoting Health Justice:
- Declaring equity and anti-racism core components of safety, requiring explicit organizational and health equity-focused policies and practices to advance diversity, inclusion, and belonging.
Ensuring Physical Safety:
- Implementing a zero-harm program for care team members to eliminate workplace violence, both physical and verbal, whether from team members, patients, families, or community members.
- Ensuring that all healthcare organizations can procure and provide evidence-based personal protective equipment, technology, tools, and processes that healthcare team members need to do their jobs safely and care for patients.