Comparing Your Hospital to the 2019 Healthcare Crime Survey

For comparison purposes, it might be beneficial to compare your hospital’s crime rates to those presented above.  The formula to calculate the crime rate per 100 beds is:

Crime Rate = (x / Beds) * 100

where x is the total crime for each crime type and
Beds is the number of beds at your hospital
Example:  (17 assaults / 360 beds) = 0.047 * 100 = 4.7 assaults per bed

As mentioned earlier in this report, the use of crime rates provides context and allow for comparisons to other hospitals.  Bed counts were used based on experience from prior crime surveys where additional size and population indicators were collected.  That experience informed the decision to use bed counts as other indicators were more challenging to obtain and not consistently reported via the crime surveys.

Workplace Violence Typology

For Aggravated Assaults and Assaults, participants were asked to drill down further, if possible, into the FBI’s workplace violence typology:

  1. Workplace Violence Type 1: Violent acts by criminals, who have no other connection with the workplace, but enter to commit robbery or another crime.
  2. Workplace Violence Type 2: Violence directed at employees by customers, clients, patients, students, inmates, or any others for whom an organization provides services.
    Examples:  patient-on-staff; visitor-on-staff
  3. Workplace Violence Type 3: Violence against coworkers, supervisors, or managers by a present or former employee.
    Examples:  physician-on-nurse; employee-on-employee
  4. Workplace Violence Type 4: Violence committed in the workplace by someone who doesn’t work there, but has a personal relationship with an employee—an abusive spouse or domestic partner.

Many respondents (n = 123) provided aggravated assault and assault data by workplace violence type.  As we found in prior Healthcare Crime Surveys, Workplace Violence Type 2 continues to dominate the other types of workplace violence and is increasing.  Workplace Violence Type 2 aggravated assaults accounted for 78% of all aggravated assaults and 88% of all assaults in U.S. hospitals.  For simplicity, the graph below displays each Workplace Violence Type with aggravated assaults and assaults combined.

To drill down on Workplace Violence Type 2 incidents, the survey also collected information on the number of employees who worked at the hospital.   The responses (n = 112) to this question allowed us to calculate the number of Workplace Violence Type 2 incidents per 100 employees.  The graph below displays the 2018 rate of assaults and aggravated assaults against employees by patients or visitors per 100 employees.

Workplace Violence Type 2 in the Emergency Department

Healthcare security leaders, Emergency Department Directors, and Hospital Administrators know through experience that Emergency Departments typically generate the greatest number of assaults and workplace violence incidents in the hospital.  For the 2019 Healthcare Crime Survey, we were able to quantify that knowledge by adding three new questions that inquired about assaults and aggravated assaults in the Emergency Department.  Specifically, we collected data regarding the number of Aggravated Assaults and Assaults in the Emergency Departments and compared those numbers with the rest of the hospital. 

In U.S. hospitals (n = 81), 34% of Workplace Violence Type 2 aggravated assaults (against employees by patients or visitors) and 46% of Type 2 assaults occurred in Emergency Departments as compared to the other spaces within the hospital. 

In Emergency Departments (N = 110), the rate of Workplace Violence Type 2 aggravated assault was 29.8 per 100 Emergency Department Beds, while the rate of Type 2 assault was 69.9 per 100 Emergency Department beds.

In this survey, we also asked for the number of Emergency Department (ED) patients seen in 2018.  As a result, we were able to determine that the rate of Type 2 aggravated assault was 0.014% and Type 2 assault was 0.045%.  As a note of caution, this does not mean that patients were the only ones committing these crimes on ED staff.  The aggravated assaults and assaults may have been committed by visitors or patients since the definition of Type 2 includes both.

Ransomware Attacks Against Healthcare Organizations

Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. In healthcare, the attack is often targeted at Health or Financial Information Systems.  In 2018, 11% of responding hospitals (n = 245) were attacked by ransomware.