- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

PARAMUS, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey lawmaker on Monday called for a hearing following a report that there’s been increasing violence at a hospital, including attacks on mentally ill children, seniors and vulnerable patients.

Democratic State Sen. Joseph Vitale told The Record newspaper (https://bit.ly/1NwgLPC ) he would schedule a hearing in Trenton next month about reports of patient assaults at the Bergen Regional Medical Center in Paramus. He said he also wants to address how the company that manages the hospital spends millions of public dollars and review the care it provides to mentally ill and elderly patients.

“There are potentially any number of areas of concern - taxpayers are covering the care for these patients, how are they being cared for and are they being cared for in a manner that meets the highest standards,” Vitale said.

Bergen County Police responded to nearly 290 assault reports at the hospital last year - a 38 percent increase from 2014, the newspaper found. County officials who oversee the hospital “did little to ensure patient and staff safety” despite multiple warnings of violence, the newspaper reported.

Officials at the 1,000-bed hospital, which provides psychiatric care, substance abuse treatment and long-term care, said the rate of incidents has decreased in recent months and assaults resulting in injuries are below national standards. But they wouldn’t reveal the number of assaults that have occurred at the facility.


This story has been corrected to show the number of assaults reported last year was a 38 percent increase from 2014, not 2015.


Information from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), https://www.northjersey.com

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