An article by Kaiser Health News describes one hospital’s efforts to reduce violence among patients admitted for violent injuries such as stabbings, gunshots or physical assaults. Some experts believe violence prevention programs, like the one in use at University of Maryland Medical Center for the last 10 years, can have long-term benefits for patients, hospitals, and the greater healthcare system.
Maryland is a pioneer in this type of coordinated effort, having launched its anti-violence program in 1998. Now, about 30 hospitals across the country — from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York — have developed similar initiatives.
They follow Maryland’s “wraparound” approach, which involves following up with patients after they leave the hospital, and providing medical and social support to keep them out of harm’s way — by, for example, getting them into drug rehab or education classes for people who have not finished high school.
The hospitals are acting on the notion that keeping violent injury from recurring will ultimately reduce their expenses and improve people’s long-term health. In other words, they increasingly view violence prevention programs as both good medicine and good business.