Key Committee Clears Bipartisan Ruppersberger-Kinzinger Bill to End the Cycle of Violence
Washington, DC – This week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed bipartisan legislation sponsored by Congressmen C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) to expand hospital-based violence intervention programs around the country. The legislation, H.R. 5855 – the Bipartisan Solution to Cyclical Violence Act of 2020, provides $10 million in federal grants to hospitals that offer services to victims of violent crime while they are recovering from their injuries.
The bill, which will now be considered by the full House of Representatives, addresses the revolving door of violent injury and re-injury seen at trauma centers around the country, where many patients are “repeat customers.” In fact, one of the leading risk factors for violent injury is a prior violent injury.
“Without question, we have a violence epidemic here in America, and I believe the community plays a critical role in addressing this crisis,” said Congressman Kinzinger. “I’m glad to see my legislation with Rep. Ruppersberger pass through the House Energy and Commerce Committee today, supporting our effort to fund violence intervention programs and putting us on a path to stop the vicious cycle of violence plaguing too many of our communities.”
“Violent crime costs American taxpayers more than $42 billion – from police, courts and jails, to the medical expenses of victims, to the lost wages to both victims and perpetrators,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “We need to find innovative solutions to stop the violence. I want to thank my colleagues on the Energy and Commerce Committee for moving this bipartisan and common sense bill forward and taking our country one step closer to ending the violence plaguing our cities.”
The bill is modeled off the Violence Intervention Program at the University of Maryland Medical Center’s R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, where a staggering 20% of patients are victims of violence, usually stabbings and shootings. These patients receive a bed-side assessment, counseling and a broad range of support that could include groceries, bus money, substance abuse treatment, job training or help finding affordable housing. At Shock Trauma, program participants have shown an 83% decrease in re-hospitalization due to intentional violent injury, a 75% reduction in criminal activity, and an 82% increase in employment.
The Congressmen’s legislation requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to select existing and aspiring violence prevention programs from across the country to receive federal grants for expanding services or studying effectiveness. At the end of a three-year pilot, each hospital will report its findings back to the federal government. Awards will range from $250,000 to $500,000.
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