Lt. Governor Brown Announces New Hospital-Based Domestic Violence Program at Prince George's Hospital Center
Brown launches “Maryland Domestic Violence Health Care Screening and Response Initiative”
CHEVERLY, Md. (October 20, 2010) – Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown joined health care representatives, domestic violence advocates, community members and state and local officials this morning to announce the launch of a new Hospital-Based Domestic Violence Program at Prince George’s Hospital Center. Lt. Governor Brown also announced the Governor’s Executive Order establishing the “The Maryland Domestic Violence Health Care Screening and Response Initiative,” encouraging programs similar to the one being established at Prince George’s Hospital Center.
“By establishing this new domestic violence program in Prince George’s County, we will be able to better recognize and care for victims of domestic violence, prevent further incidences, and send a message to our neighbors that violence and abuse against women and children will not be tolerated and will not go unnoticed in Maryland,” said Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown. “Governor O’Malley and I are proud of the strong partnerships that made this progress possible, and we will continue to work together to provide more opportunities to care for our victims and protect our neighbors from domestic violence.”
The Prince George’s program will be Maryland’s fifth hospital-based domestic violence program, designed to meet the Executive Order’s goal of expanding domestic violence services at health care facilities across the state through screening hospital patients, training health care staff and providing resources to victims of domestic abuse. Similar programs are currently in place in the Baltimore region at Anne Arundel Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center, Sinai Hospital and Northwest Hospital.
“Together, thanks to the dedication and collaboration of our victim advocates, health care providers, and local and state leaders, we now have greater resources to support and care for our neighbors who are victims of domestic violence,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Protecting the public’s safety is among our most solemn obligations as public servants, and we will continue to build upon our programs and strengthen our partnerships to achieve our goal of reducing violent crimes committed against women and children by 25 percent by 2012.”
“We are honored to be a part of the Lt. Governor’s commitment to end domestic violence. Our center is open 24/7. We stand ready to provide the services and resources of the program our community needs. We are proud to join forces with others around the region to end domestic violence,” said John O’Brien, President of Prince George’s Hospital Center.
The Prince George’s domestic violence program comes as a result of a report released by the Governor’s Family Violence Council earlier this year. The report, which reviewed Maryland’s four existing programs, programs in other states, and research on the effectiveness of health care based screening and referral programs, found that health care and hospital-based domestic violence screening programs can successfully assist victims, reduce incidents of violence and hospital admissions, and over time lead to a decrease in health care costs. Therefore, the Governor’s Family Violence Council recommended to Governor O’Malley the expansion of health facility-based domestic violence screening and response programs throughout Maryland.
“Health professionals play a crucial role in recognizing and managing the often devastating consequences of domestic violence. CareFirst is glad to support efforts at Prince George’s Hospital Center that will directly benefit families in Prince George’s County,” said Maria Harris Tildon, CareFirst Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Community Affairs.
The Executive Order announced today which establishes the “The Maryland Domestic Violence Health Care Screening and Response Initiative” encourages the development statewide of hospital-based and health-care based domestic violence screening programs. Applications from health facilities will be evaluated by the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention.
In response to the Executive Order, the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention and the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission have made State monies available, while CareFirst BlueCross Blue Shield, the Amerigroup Foundation, and Prince George’s Hospital Center have committed private/non-profit funds to pilot a domestic violence program at Prince George’s Hospital Center. The program’s total first year funding is $125,000 – $80,000 of which is public funds and $45,000 of which comes from private/non-profit partners. Its primary goals are to identify victims at an early stage in the cycle of domestic violence and extend comprehensive services to prevent future physical and emotional injury.
“The Maryland Community Health Resources Commission is pleased to support this important program of Prince George’s Hospital. This program will help expand access to essential social support services that need to be part of a comprehensive health care system in Prince George’s County,” said Enrique Martinez-Vidal, Commissioner of the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission.
Prince George’s Hospital Center currently serves victims of sexual violence through its Sexual Assault Center, which offers a full range of services, free of charge, including crisis counseling, follow-up counseling, forensic examinations and law enforcement support, victim advocacy, and community education. By using additional State and private/non-profit funds, the Hospital Center will be able to extend established services to domestic violence victims who enter the hospital for care.
“The Domestic Violence Program is an extension of our Sexual Assault Center at Prince George’s Hospital Center. By combining these services, this will allow us to have more resources to provide an added measure of safety and protection to the individuals of domestic violence in the community we serve. We want to make sure access to the program is easy as possible for someone in an abusive situation to get the support and help they need,” said Ken Glover, President and CEO of Dimensions Healthcare System.
“This initiative is yet another example of this Administration’s tireless advocacy on behalf of crime victims. Promoting new policies and streamlined funding, we ensure that the system upholds the rights of crime victims under our Maryland Constitution to be treated with dignity, respect, and sensitivity during all phases of the criminal justice process,” said Kristen Mahoney, Director of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention. “For many victims, hospital-based domestic violence programs may be their safest access point to seek help and justice.”
“We applaud Lt. Governor Brown for his commitment to improving access to health care services for victims of domestic violence. As an organization that partners with states like Maryland to offer solutions to the nation’s health care challenges, we are honored to support those efforts,” said John E. Littel, Chairman of the Amerigroup Foundation.
This evening, Brown will present a Governor’s Citation to the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence celebrating the advocacy group’s 30th anniversary.
Since taking office, the O’Malley-Brown administration has worked to reduce violent crimes committed against women and children by 25 percent by 2012. In 2009, Brown championed successful efforts to improve domestic violence law and take guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. During the 2010 Legislative Session, Brown worked with members of the General Assembly, domestic violence advocates and stakeholders to pass legislation allowing a victim of domestic abuse to terminate a residential lease with a copy of a final protective order. His cousin, Cathy, was murdered by her estranged boyfriend in Montgomery Village during the summer of 2008.