Richmond VA September 15, 2023 Healthcare leaders say there’s a rise in violent incidents at healthcare facilities. Now, a Virginia law that took effect July 1, is requiring hospitals to tighten up security.
A bill passed by the Virginia General Assembly directs the Board of Health to “amend its regulations to require every hospital with an emergency department to establish a security plan.”
Hospitals must conduct a security risk assessment and align their security plan with the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety or other industry standards.
Bon Secours sent 8News a statement on Tuesday saying in part, “Security assessments are under review and plans will be implemented according to the healthcare security industry guidelines.”
According to the bill, hospitals’ security plans should include staffing at least one off-duty law enforcement officer or trained security personnel in the emergency department at all times. However, that requirement could be waived if the hospital proves that a different level of security is appropriate.
In May, a VCU Health employee was shot to death by another staffer inside of a stairwell at North Hospital.
Since the law took effect, VCU Police have been installing weapons detectors and implementing other safety measures at several VCU Medical locations. The police department is going to continue rolling out these safety measures at various locations until the project is complete on Monday, Sept. 18.
HCA Healthcare has not yet responded to 8News’ request for information on their latest security action.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare workers are five times more likely to suffer a workplace violence injury.
Julian Walker, with the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, said this law is a continuation of other legislative efforts to help keep staff and patients safe.
“There have been a lot of steps taken. Healthcare workplace violence against healthcare providers is certainly a serious problem. A growing and rising challenge, Walker said. “Certainly, efforts to enhance safety and security for both patients and healthcare providers is a laudable goal.”