Accreditation

When police and physicians clash

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, March 1, 2018

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Policies to improve cooperation between law enforcement and healthcare organizations

Hospitals and law enforcement often have to work hand in glove. Many trauma centers and emergency departments have a police officer stationed onsite in response to injuries sustained in vehicular collisions, fights, or other instances where individuals are injured in a public setting. Police can be called in to the hospital when a patient or a family member grows violent. And law enforcement is also responsible for bringing in individuals seeking behavioral health/mental health assistance.

A working relationship with law enforcement is key to the safety, efficacy, and wellbeing of everyone in the hospital: providers and patients. That said, hospitals and law enforcement have different goals. And while the two usually work well together, they can find themselves at odds.

Crafting a strong policy and coordinating with law enforcement is a necessity in today’s healthcare field. And if a patient comes in who is under arrest, providers need to know the extent and constraints of the law.

When it goes well

Jim Kendig, MS, CHSP, CHCM, CHEM, LHRM, Joint Commission field director of surveyor management and development accreditation and certification operations, recounted in a blog post a night when two rival gangs had a shootout in the streets. Members of both gangs were injured and brought to the same emergency department, the one where Kendig worked.

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