Baltimore Sees Hospitals As Key To Breaking A Cycle Of Violence []


Every year, U.S. hospitals treat hundreds of thousands of violent injuries. Often, the injured are patched up and sent home, right back to the troubles that landed them in the hospital in the first place.

Now, as these institutions of healing are facing pressure under the Affordable Care Act to keep readmissions down, a growing number of hospitals are looking at ways to prevent violence. In Baltimore, health department workers have pitched hospitals an idea they want to take citywide.

The idea builds on the city's Safe Streets program, which hires ex-offenders to intervene in conflicts before someone gets hurt. They're called "violence interrupters," and they use their street credibility and deep social ties to settle fights.

Now the health department is asking Baltimore hospitals to give the staff of Safe Streets access to patients who have been shot, stabbed, or beaten up. The idea comes from Chicago, where the group CeaseFire is already working in four hospitals.

[For more of this story, written by Andrea Hsu, go to]

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When I was in the Southeast Bronx, in 1973, Lincoln Hospital had 186,000 emergency room admissions the previous year, according to their House Staff Residency brochure. That translates to about 22 per hour (if they come in at an even pace). And, that was in a community where both Pediatric and Internal Medicine Residents made  "House calls"--in spite of the roughly 100,000 Heroin addicts living in that community.

This prevention initiative in Baltimore is a positive sign.