In the battle for a slice of the annual budget, Robert Field, says safety and security heads often hear, “You were able to do what you did without additional money, so why do you need more?” Even when this is the case, he states, “There are always other funding opportunities that can be looked for.”
Field is the Director of Safety, Security and Emergency Preparedness at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital Hamilton in New Jersey. His workplace violence prevention program and overall improvements to the hospital’s safety, security and emergency management has made him Campus Safety magazine’s 2018 Healthcare Directory of the Year.
Field has been successful in winning grants from federal, state, and local entities willing to give money for specific projects. He says the majority focus on clinical care, not security, facilities, or environmental safety.
However, the grant proposals can be tailored to show benefits to patients, staff, and the hospital’s bottom line. By this approach, Field has won funding for the purchase of video surveillance and card access technology, as well as new communication devices.
“There are ways to craft a grant request for access control or camera systems based on the fact that you want to a safer environment for certain types of patients,” he says.
For example, when submitting grant proposals for video surveillance, it was not explained that more CCTV cameras were needed for security to look for “the bad guys and bad girls,” Field says. Instead, positive outcomes were explored, including that additional cameras could better protect certain groups of hospital patients or that the recorded archive of CCTV feed could reduce fraudulent workers’ compensation claims or insurance payouts for accidents such as slip-and-falls.
In the case of new radios for his officers, a grant proposal to the New Jersey Department of Health was couched in terms of how new equipment would positively impact hospital emergency management. “We can use these radios when it is vital to communicate to the masses, but they can also be dispersed into everyday use,” he notes.
Here is Field’s advice for healthcare safety, security, and emergency management department heads seeking extra funding:
- Network with local and state healthcare facilities to learn how they have been successful in procuring alternate forms of funding.
- Thoroughly explore federal, state, local, and private grant sources.
- Tailor proposals to closely align with the grant particulars.
- Find a grant writer who is a skilled wordsmith, able to clearly show how the grant’s outcome will benefit patients, doctors, nurses, and other staff rather than just the safety and security department.
Ann Longmore-Etheridge is a freelance writer with more than two decades of experience writing about private security and law enforcement issues
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