An Inside Look at Hospital Security

Author: Carlton Purvis, Published on Nov 18, 2013

Security in hospitals is critical and they spend lots of money on security systems and services (e.g., third largest industry employing security guards). How hospital security works and what issues they face are key concerns.

In this interview with Margarita Castillo CPP, who retired after 24 years at University of New Mexico Hospitals as Manager Security Operations and Security team member, she explains why hospitals are different from traditional security settings, how officers coordinate with medical staff and what technologies worked and didn’t.

Why * ******** ** ********* **** *** ***** ********“The most unique thing is the fact that, as security, we’re dealing with patients and people with all types of medical issues, sometimes life-threatening heath issues. That very fact delays our ability to move them (patients) immediately should an emergency situation occur that threatens the hospital at large," she said.

***** ***** ******** ********, *** ******** *** ******** ** ******** and *** ********* *** * **** *********. ******* ** ***** concerns, *** ** *** ******* ******** *************** ** **** *** the ******* ** ******** *** ****** *** ******** ****** ******* remotely **** *** ******** ******. “*** **** ***** ****** ***** sound ** *** ******** ****** *** ** **** *** ********** would ******* *** *****, ******-********** **** *** *** ***** ***** ****** *** ****," *** said. *** ******** **** ***** ******* ** *** ***** *** maintain *********, ****** ****** **** ***** ****** ** ****, ******** and ********* **** ***** ******* * ****.

Why *** ********* **** ** * *********** ********* **** ** *** ***** ** *** ******** **** the ******* ***** ** ********. ****** *** ********** ****** ** or *** ** *** ********* **** ****. *** ******* ** medical ****** ***** **** * ****** **** ** * ******* life-threatening ********* **** ******** ********* ****** * ******* ******** ** other ********* ********. ******* ****** ******* *** ***** ***** ** the ** ***** **** **** ** *****, *********** ******. “** a ******, ******* *** **** ** ***** ***** ***** *** to *** ********* ****** ** *** ******’* *********," *** ****. There *** ****** ** ***** *** ******** ******* ******** ** ****** the ** *** ******* ** *** **** *****.

***** *** ********* * ****** ******** *** ****** ******* ************* **,*** ******** ******* ***** ********* room ********.  “** ****’* **** *** ******* ** ****, ** was **** * ******* ******** ****** *** ****** ** *** day,” *** ****. 

Worst ******** ********** *** *** *** **** *** **** *********

******** **** **** ** *** **** ** ****, *** ***** attempt ** ****** ******* **** ****** *** **** ****’*, **** the ******** ********** *********** *** *** ** ******** ** ******** ID ******. *** ******** ** ***** *** ******** ** *** hospital ********* *** ****** **** **** ***** *********** ** ****** the **** ***** ***** ** *** ********** *********** ******** ** areas **** ** *** “***” *****. ******* **** ** * teaching ********, **** ** *** ******* ******** ** ********* **** assigned ******** *********** **** ******* **** ** ****** *** **** of *** ******** ********** ** ***** ********. ******* ******** ** residents **** ******* **** ******* *** ******* **** ******* **** allowed **** ********** ** ****** ***** ******** ** **** ******. The ******** **** ******** ******** *** ******** *** ******** **** the ******* ** ******** *** *** ****** ***** ******* ******. “We ******* ******** *** ******* **** * *** **** ** make ** ****** ** **** *** *******,” *** ****.

** *** *** ****’*, *** ******** *** ************* *** ******** readers *** * ***** ** ****** ***. *** ******** ********** included *** ***** ***** ******* ********** *** ******** *** ******* 750 ******** *******. ********* *** ********* ******** ******* ****** ***** 1000.

*** **** *** ********** **** *** *** **** **** *** most ********* ** *** ******* *** ******** ******** ** ****** the *** ** ** **** ** ****** ***** ** ****** to **** ********** ******** *******. “*** ******* ** ***** ** area *** ** *** *** ******* **** ***** ** ******* over ***** ******** ****** *********** ** *** ******** ******* **** regard ** *** ** *** ******. * ***** **** ** something ** ***** *** ** *** *** ** **********. *** example, ** *** *** ******** ** *** ****** ****** ****** and ***** *** ****** ** *** ******* ****, * ******** positioned ******** ****** *** * ******** ******* ***** **** * tool **** ****** ***/*** ** ****** ******* **** ***** ******* a ******** *** ** *** ******* **** ** **********. * think ** ** ***** ** **** * **** **** *** security *****.  **’* *** *****, *** **’* *** ** *** level ** ***** ** **,” *** ****. ******** **** ** should **** **** ***** *********** ** **** ********** ***** ********** where *** ***’* ** **** ** * ****** ** ***** aggressive ** **** ******* **** ***** *****.

Security ******* ********Security officers were cross-trained to perform a variety of duties as required by the assigned location. Permanent location assignment often lead to complacency so security officers now rotate through locations and must learn the different tasks associated with that specific location, such as the Emergency Room or the Mental Health Center. This included patrols of the assigned facility, dispatch duties, access control, monitoring and operation of the video surveillance system. For patrols, they were trained not only to identify possible security threats, but to also challenge or question people who appeared to be lost or out of place, including people who might be off their medications. The training they received for this purpose was called “Crisis Intervention Training."

“**** ****** ******** ** *** ******* ***** ** **********, **** present **** * ******* *** ** **** ** ***** **** to ***** **** ** ***** ********,” *** ****. *** ******** officers **** ******* ** ********* ********* ********** ** ****** ****** issues ** ****** ** ** *****. **** **** ** ******** is *** ****** ***** *** **** ******** ** ****** ***********.

******** **** *** ******* ****** ********** ********* *** “****** ************ ******** (***)” ** **** *** ****** ******** ** ***** **** *** to **** **** ****** ****** ****** **** ** ******** ******, or *****  ****** ****** ******, *** ** ********* ****** *** their ********** *** **** *** ********** ** ****** ****** ********.

*** *** ******** *** ******* ** *** *********** ****** ********** and ******* * ************ ******** *** ******** ** *** *** ****** ****** ****** to *** ****** ********. *** **** ******** ********** ******** *** training ******* **** **** ** ***** ** ** ***** *** their ************. *** **** ******** ********** ***** ***** ******** *** *** topics ** *** ****** ****** ********* **** **** ** *** Emergency **** **********.

***** ******** *** ** ****, * ******* ***** ******** ***** to **** ******** ********. *** ** *** ******** **** **** hospital *********, ******* ** ********, ******** ******** **** **** *** ******* *** security ** * ******* *****. ****** *** ******, *** ****** of ******** ***** **** **** ** ******** ** **. **** did *** ******* *** ******** ** ******* ********* ********** *** was ****** **** *** ***** ************ *** ****** ******* *******, or *** ********* *** ****** *******.

Challenging ** * ******** *******

“***** ** ******, ******** ******** *** ********** *********, **** *** pick * ****** *** **** ***** ***** ********* *** ***** that ****** *** * *****. *** ******* **** **** * decision ** ** ******** ** ***, **** ***** **** *** the ******** ******* (*** **********) ******** *** ********. ** *** decision ** **** ** ***** *** ****** ***, ***** ** is ************ ** *** **********. **** ****** *** ********** ** bring ** * ****** ****** *** **** ** *** ** the ******** ******* *** ****** ********. **** *********** *** ******, the ******** ******* ***** ******* ****** *********** ** ** *** legitimacy ** *** ******’* ******* ** *** ********, *** ****. In **** ***** * ****** ***** ********* ** ******* **** of *** ******** ** ******** ******** **** ******* ******** ******* by ********* * ****** ** ********* ****.

"*** ********* ****** **** *** ******** * ****** *** ******* to ** ****, *** ** ***** ** **********," *** ****. "At *******, *** ********** ****** ****** ** ******** ** ******** immediately. ****** ******** ******* ** ***** ****** **** ** *** helps **** * ******** *** ** *** *********. *********** ***** particular ****** ********* *** *********** *** ***** ** *********.”

Incident ****

******** ******** *** ******** ** ******** * *** ** *** encounters ** ********* **** **** ******** **** *** ****** ** their *****. ***** ******** *** ********** ***** ********* *** *** turned ** ** *** ***** ********** ** *** *** ** their ******. *** ******* ** ******** ** **** ******* ***** he ** *** *** ********** ****** *** ****** ****, ** which **** *** ***-**** ** ******** ** *** ********** *** archived. ***** ******** ******** ** *** ***** ** **** ***** *** all **-****** ******** ******** **** ******** ** ******. ************* ** the ****** ******, ****’*, *** ***** *********** *********** **** ****** along ** **** ** ********** ** * ***** ***** ******** sheet.

Communication ******* ******* ***** *** ********

******** **** *** ** *** **** ********* ****** ***** ******* in * ******* ********** ** ************* **** ***** *****. *** security ********** *** **** *** *** ******* *********** ** ******* information ** ******** *********, *** **** ************ ******** ******** ****** new-hire ************.

“**** ** ******** *** **** ********** ***** ** ****** ***," she ****. “** **** **** ** ***** ******** ********* ** what *** ********* ****** *** ******** **** ******* ** ******** systems, *** **** ***********, *** **** ** *********** **** *** security ********** ****** **** ******* *** *** ******** ****.”  

**** **** ** *********** *** ****?  “** ****’* **** ** necessarily **** **** ******* ** ******** ******* * *** ******* X *** ********”, *** ****. “*******, ** **** ** **** that *** ******* ** **** * *** ** **** ** be **** *** **** ******** ********** ********* (***) *** ** aggressive ****** *** ** ******** ** **** ** ** ******** that * ****** **** ***** **** ... **** *** ** know **** ** ****** **** ** *** ** *** ******* (or *******),” *** ****. **********, ** ****** ******** ******** *** security ***** ** **** ****** *** *** ********** **** ********** to ** ******** *** ****** **** ** ***** ***** ****.

Security *******

******* ********** *** *** ************** ** * ******** ********* ****** within *** ******** ******. ******* ***** **** ******* ** **** 57 ** **** *** * ******** ********* **** ** * potentially ******* ******* ** *******. “** **** ** *** ********* phone ****, *** ********** ***** **** ********** *** ******* ** that ****. ** ******* ***** **** **** ****** *** *** security *********** ****,” *** ****. ***** ***** **** **** *** security ****** ***-********* **** ** ******* *********** ***** ***-********* ********** requiring ********.

Security ********The security team tried to make sure they could respond anywhere in the three-building hospital campus in about two minutes (a five-story building, seven story building and a mental health facility that was a block away). While the closest responding officer moved in the direction of the needed assistance, the dispatcher would relay information about the scene obtained from both the caller and any security cameras in the area. If the call came through the emergency number, all available officers would respond.  

“** ********* ** *****," *** ****. “** *** ***** ******* on *** ***** **** ** **** ****** *** ***** ******* then *** ***** ******** ***** **** *** *** ****** ** their *****. ** *** ******* ****’* *** ********, **** **** would **** ****** ** ******."

The ***** ** ***** ************ ** * ******** *******The main function of security cameras at UNM Hospitals was to provide real time situational awareness for the security team. The dispatcher and often, one other security officer monitored the security cameras while the others were on patrol and could be dispatched to check out anything observed from the control room. The priority cameras were at the entrances and the emergency room. If there was an incident, the dispatcher would pull up those camera views, or the camera views of the incident and do a quick review of the previous footage.

** ******* ******** ****, "*** ******** **** * **** ******* of ******* ********* ***'* *** ** ********* ** ** ***. The ******** *** *** ****** ****, ****** ******* **** * push ** ***** ********** *** ***** *********."

************ *** ********** ******** ** ****’* ******* ****** ** ******* **********. ***********, *** ********* *** **** ***** *** ******** *** a ******** ********* ** ***** ****** “**** ****."

“******* ** ******** * **** **** *****, *** *** ***** would ****** *** *** ******* **** ***** ***** ***** **** up *** ******** ********* ** **** ** ***** ***** ******** for ****** ****** * ***** *** ** ******** **** ***** conceal * **** **,” *** ****. *** ******* ******* ** the **** **** ****** **** ***** **** ****** ***** ***** without ***** ****** ***** ******* ** *** ********, ** *** wristband ***** ******* *** *** ****** ** *** *****, *** their ******** ** ******** *** ******** **** ****** **** ******* evidence ** ******* ****.

** ****, ***** * **** *** ****** ** * ******** in *** ****** *** ******, **** ******** ******** *** ******* and ***** **** *** **** ***** *** ******* ***** ******** but *** ********** ** ******* *****.  “**, **** *****, ******* of ****** ** ** ********* ** *** ********, **** ** Las ****** *** ******** * **** *****. **** **** ** show *** ****** **** **** ***** **** ******* ** **** the ******* ******,” *** ****. *** ****** ** ***** *** half ***** **** **** ***********.

**** ******** ***** ******* ***** *** ***** ********* ******** **** put *** ** ***** ** **** *** *** * ***** who ***** ** ******* ******* ********* *** *** *******.  *** baby *** ****************** *** ***** ***** *** * ***** ********.

Comments (2)

I was involved in quoting monitoring services to a security guard company on a tender for 100 care facilities and hospitals. One area that I saw was a big opportunity for technology was sending a mobile guard to facilities at shift change to escort staff to the parking lot. These were facilities without a static guard however were paying for 1-3 mobile guard tours a day. When isuggested improvements I got push back either because the guard company was not comfortable with the technology or saw elimination of guards as a reduction of billable services to support his mobile group.

I am curious who was the change agent responsible forintroducing technology in the hospital ( code pink, access control,...)I

The Director of Security (Vito F. Capobianco) was very progressive. He was very open to ideas/suggestions. It also helped that we were very fortunate to have an administrator who not only supported us in every way she could but also trusted us.

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