Hospital violence: Providers respond as incidents spike [Special Report]

By Zack Budryk

Hospitals across the country have a violence problem, and experts agree it's getting worse.

Of nearly 24,000 workplace assaults between 2011 and 2013, up to 74 percent occurred in healthcare or social work settings, according to guidance published this year by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). These assaults accounted for up to 11 percent of injuries within the industry necessitating days away from work. A separate analysis of workplace injuries from 2012 to 2014 published in the April issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found 2,034 violence-related injuries in healthcare settings, or 4.9 per 10,000 worker-months.

Last August, OSHA directly held a provider responsible for attacks on staff, citing Brooklyn, New York's Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, which saw about 40 violent incidents between February and April of that year, for not adequately protecting employees from violence. The citation carried a potential fine of $78,000.

These are frightening numbers, for healthcare workers and executives alike. In this special report, FierceHealthcare examines the reasons behind the uptick in violence and the steps healthcare organizations must take to address and prevent it.

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Hospital violence: Providers respond as incidents spike [Special Report]