Better Late Than Never

The Joint Commission’s recent spotlight on violence in hospitals is good (but late) news

It’s with mixed emotions that I received the Joint Commission’s latest Sentinel Event Alert, titled Preventing Violence in the Healthcare Setting. On the one hand, I applaud the organization for giving hospital security issues their proper due. On the other, I’m wondering why it took so long.

To refresh your memory, last week the Joint Commission warned that U.S. healthcare facilities today are being confronted with steadily increasing rates of crime, including assault, rape and murder. It also urged hospitals to pay greater attention to the issue of violence, background checks and access control, noting that assault, rape and homicide are consistently in the top 10 types of serious events reported to the Joint Commission. 

For those of you who have been expressing concerns about hospital security for years, it must feel good to finally be acknowledged. But does this now mean that the Joint Commission really “gets” the critical nature of violence in healthcare facilities? That remains to be seen. The same goes for our elected officials, agencies like the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice, as well as the general public.

It also remains to be seen how hospital executives will act on this information. Some of you already have buy-in from the top, so you might not need to make many changes. For others, perhaps the Joint Commission’s declaration will help you plead your case for more resources and attention.

It is my hopes that this alert is not the end of the Joint Commission’s attention to healthcare facility security. A sustained (and better organized) effort by them and the hospital protection community as a whole is needed to make our nation’s hospitals hardened targets.

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About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray

Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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