New Healthcare Workplace Violence Standard
The healthcare accreditation agency, The Joint Commission, recently announced that they are making changes to the standards with regards to violence in the workplace. These new changes will become effective on January 1, 2022.
Healthcare Violence Increasing
Healthcare security practitioners have known for quite some time that the increased levels of workplace violence is serious, and can result in serious injuries to staff and patients. This same intensity of violence in healthcare has resulted in fatal injuries, and we all know that something must be done to mitigate this ongoing and ever-increasing problem.
In fact, during recent security risks assessments at a large healthcare system I found that two of the facilities had recent cases where large groups of activists tried to storm their emergency departments. The activists made it inside the hospital, but not into the actual E.Ds.
In the last six months I have visited 16 different healthcare campuses in numerous states, and the one common issue that is high on the list of serious security incidents are those cases that are related to workplace violence. Staff and management both have asked for help, because they are fearing for their lives in many cases. Even though the access to many of the facilities were restricted, due to COVID, the number of workplace violence incidents still increased. That being the case, what will it be like when all visitor restrictions have been lifted?
The Joint Commission has recently announced that a new standard will become effective January 1, 2022. To read the standard follow this link: The Hospital Manages Safety and Security Risks.
The following Joint Commission Standards have been revised or added:
- EC.02.01.01 Requires annual assessments of the effectiveness of the organization’s workplace violence prevention program.
- EC.04.01.01 Updates the glossary of terms to include definitions for workplace violence incidents and security incidents.
- HR.01.05.03 Adds – Organizations are required to provide training, education and resources to all leadership, staff and licensed practitioners. It also requires that that training be at the time of hire, annually, and at any time that the workplace violence program or policies has been changed. There are specific topics that must be covered in this training as well.
- LD.03.01.01 Adds – Organization must maintain a workplace violence prevention program and includes numerous requirements with regards to that program.
Please note that the above information is only a snapshot of the information that is included in the link above, and I would encourage you to conduct your due diligence and independently review the new standards.
For those healthcare organizations that are not utilizing the accreditation services of The Joint Commission, it would be in your best interest to take notice of this new standard. I say that because if your accreditation agency does not have something similar in place, or if your organization does not utilize any accreditation service, your organization still may be held to the standard during civil litigation.
The point here is that if healthcare security experts are retained in litigation for the Plaintiffs, they may use published standards in their expert opinions. That is not to say that any organization must subscribe to any of the accreditation services out there, only that the security experts may opine that had your organization considered what is published with regards to healthcare workplace violence, they may have been able to prevent a serious security incident from occurring in the first place. The jury, or trier of fact, will decide if your organization’s policies, procedures, and mitigation strategies were reasonable.