|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 8, 2019
Christina Crooks Bryan
Delaware Hospitals Announce Coordinated Approach to Tackle Human Trafficking
New Recommendations Aimed at Identifying and Assisting Trafficking Victims
(DOVER, DE - May 8, 2019) Delaware hospitals are joining forces to combat human trafficking. A coordinated victim identification protocol has been adopted by all hospitals in our state that will allow more of those imprisoned by the tragedy of human trafficking to be identified and rescued. We believe Delaware is the first state to advance a common human trafficking identification protocol on a statewide basis.
The Delaware Healthcare Association’s (DHA) Human Trafficking Medical Committee unveiled recommendations today for each hospital to adopt as part of a statewide approach to tackle human trafficking. The Human Trafficking Medical Committee was formed in February 2018 at the direction of the DHA Board of Directors to address human trafficking in the health care setting in Delaware by aligning efforts with the state’s Human Trafficking Interagency Coordinating Council (the “HTICC”), coordinating with community partners, and developing today’s announced protocols. The goal is to identify and care for victims of human trafficking in Delaware hospitals.
“Studies have shown that 88% of human trafficking victims were seen by a health care provider while they are being trafficked. Hospitals have a unique and important opportunity to identify and help victims,” said DHA President & CEP Wayne A. Smith. “Delaware is leading the way thanks to the hard work and coordination of our hospitals and support of our state partners, and we encourage other states to join in similar efforts to combat human trafficking.”
“Through a year-long process of research and shared learning, the Committee has developed recommendations for each hospital to implement that include education and step-by-step protocols designed to empower hospital employees to identify the signs of human trafficking and to respond to the victim in a trauma-informed, patient centered manner,” said Annamarie McDermott, MSW, ACM-SW, Director of Care Management for Saint Francis Hospital & Co-Chair of the Human Trafficking Medical Committee.
“I have seen first-hand how being vigilant and aware of the potential signs of human trafficking -- which may include a chaperone not leaving the patient alone or not letting them speak for themselves or a patient not being aware of where they are -- has allowed nurses to identify victims and get them the help they need before it is too late,” said Dawn Culp, MSN, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P, FNE, Bayhealth, & Co-Chair of the Human Trafficking Medical Committee.
“Delaware’s Human Trafficking Interagency Coordinating Council is pleased to recognize the leadership of the Delaware Healthcare Association and member hospitals in addressing human trafficking in Delaware. Victims are known to visit hospital emergency departments soon after being trafficked, so EDs are positioned to notice red flags such as their physical injuries, STIs, other untreated illnesses, and signs of psychological trauma. We look forward to partnering with the DHA in understanding the prevalence of trafficking in Delaware and improving services to victims.” said Leslie Brower PhD, RN, Chair, Delaware Human Trafficking Interagency Coordinating Council
The Committee is Chaired by Saint Francis Hospital’s Annamarie McDermott, MSW, ACM-SW and Bayhealth’s Dawn Culp, MSN, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P, FNE and includes members from each of the hospitals in Delaware, representatives behavioral health facilities in the state, the Medical Society of Delaware, state government and other key stakeholders.
The Committee’s recommendations, released today, include the following:
- Staff education with Human Trafficking 101 – Hospitals are encouraged to implement training using the National Human Trafficking Resource Center power point presentation, or similar content.
- Use of Human Trafficking Assessment Questions – Intended to assist clinicians in identifying red flags.
- Implementation of Human Trafficking Algorithm – A step-by-step process of recognizing and responding to suspected trafficking, including links to key resources.
- Use of ICD-10-CM codes for data collection on adult or child forced labor or sexual exploitation – Utilization of the codes is key to collecting data on trafficking that will better streamline future response and help with allocation of resources. Hospitals are encouraged to implement the codes with the help of the American Hospital Association fact sheet and training on use of the codes.
- Use of the Juvenile Memorandum – The memorandum developed by the Child Protection Accountability Commission (CPAC) provides an overview of how to address instances when a suspected victim of trafficking is a minor. Each hospital should discuss the memorandum with their legal department with regard to handling documentation.
Each hospital in Delaware will work to implement the recommendations over the next year.
About the Delaware Healthcare Association
The Delaware Healthcare Association (DHA) was formed in 1967 to assist Delaware hospitals in working on issues concerning health care and the hospital industry. DHA is a statewide trade and membership services organization that serves as a leader in the promotion of effective change in health services through collaboration and consensus building on health care issues at the State and Federal levels. DHA’s vision is to be the leading and respected voice for hospitals and health care delivery systems in Delaware working together to deliver compassionate, accessible, high quality, financially sustainable health care to the patients and communities they serve. DHA’s mission is to provide policy and advocacy leadership in creating an excellent environment for enabling every Delawarean to be as healthy as they can be.