BALTIMORE — Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger unveiled new legislation to expand hospital-based violence prevention programs on Monday.
The End the Cycle of Violence Act would provide federal grants to hospitals around the country that offer services to victims of violent crime while they are recovering from their injuries.
The legislation is modeled after the Violence Intervention Program at the University of Maryland Medical Center’s R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.
At Shock Trauma, 20 percent of its patients are victims of violence. Participants in the Violence Intervention Program have shown an 83 perecent decrease in re-hospitalization due to intentional violent injury, a 75 percent reduction in criminal activity, and an 82 percent increase in employment.
"When these people who have come maybe once or twice or three times, they're there and they're being helped this way and it is working,” said Rep. Ruppersberger. “I think every hospital in the nation should have a program like this."
Through the bill, 10 existing violence prevention programs will receive a $750,000 grant to expand their services and study effectiveness. At the end of a three-year pilot, each hospital will report its findings.
Shock Trauma will be applying for one of the grants. Rep. Ruppersberger hopes the program will be a permanent fixture in the federal budget.
The bill is co-sponsored by New Hampshire Rep. Ann Kuster. It has been endorsed by many law enforcement and health care organizations including the Fraternal Order of Police, the National District Attorneys Association, the National League of Cities, the National Network of Hospital-based Violence Intervention Programs, the American College of Surgeons, the NAACP, the National Association of School Resource Officers and Cure Violence.