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Q&A: What hands-on security interventions are acceptable?

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April 23, 2020

by A.J. Plunkett (aplunkett@decisionhealth.com)

Last fall, as CMS and accrediting organizations increased their scrutiny of how hospitals address suicide risk, the question of whether security or police officers could be used as 1:1 monitors for high-risk patients became a recurring theme.

In the September issue, Healthcare Safety Leader talked to several experts in the field about this issue, with the general consensus that it should only happen if absolutely necessary.

That spurred one reader to ask for more information.

The reader, who works in compliance for a hospital system with more than a dozen organizations, said they don’t use security for 1:1 observers, but sometimes do ask “both our in-house and contract security to intervene when patients become extremely agitated/aggressive.”

The concern specifically was that CMS surveyors in the reader’s region had pursued at least two separate investigations related to hands-on security during complaint surveys on an unassociated issue.

Once on campus to investigate a complaint, CMS or other accrediting organizations (AO) can cite whatever problems they identify—regardless of whether it’s related to the complaint.

Last fall, as CMS and accrediting organizations increased their scrutiny of how hospitals address suicide risk, the question of whether security or police officers could be used as 1:1 monitors for high-risk patients became a recurring theme.



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