Violent crime is increasing in American health care facilities, according to a new alert issued by the Joint Commission, an independent health care oversight group, reports USA Today. Since 2004, there have been “significant increases in reports of assault, rape and homicide, with the greatest number of reports in the last three years,” the group said in its “Sentinel Event Alert,” the latest in a series of alerts on serious adverse events occurring in health care settings. There have been 256 assaults, rapes or homicides of patients and visitors to American health centers since 1995, with 110 of those acts occurring since 2007. The report said the actual numbers are believed to be significantly higher.
Russell L. Colling, a California health care security consultant who advised the Joint Commission on the report, cited a number of reasons for the increase in violent outbreaks in health care settings, including an increase in drug and alcohol abuse and a lack of adequate care for psychiatric patients. Another factor, said Colling, is that Americans are more likely to vent their frustrations about the flawed health care system. “Patients today tend to feel more entitled,” he added. “They feel that they have a right to immediate health care, and they don’t like having to wait in line.”