May 17, 2023

More hospitals create police forces to protect workers

Editor's Note

Because of the rising incidence of violence in healthcare settings, nearly 40 states have laws that establish or strengthen penalties for assaults on healthcare workers, and 29 more have approved or are working on similar laws, the May 15 KFF Health News reports.

Some laws would allow healthcare facilities to create independent police forces that can carry firearms and make arrests. Members of these forces have higher training requirements than noncertified officers, such as security guards.

Groups representing nurses and hospitals argue that such laws are needed to address aggressive or agitated patients who sometimes become violent, while critics say that hospital police forces could escalate violence in healthcare settings and have downstream effects.

Federal data show that healthcare workers are five times more likely to experience violence than employees in other industries, the report says.

 

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