It was discovered last May by the Channel 7 I-Team that Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center in N.Y. is in need of some serious security updates.
The Niagara Falls Police Dept. reviewed the hospital and determined that it needed to close down what they considered an “open campus,” reports WKBW.
Hospital staff had requested security updates to the hospital, especially the entrance, since 2016 when they signed a petition on the matter.
In March, a hospital worker was mugged on campus. Staff felt that they were not safe at work, according to the Niagara Gazette.
Hospital President and CEO, Joe Ruffalo, started to make the necessary security improvements about six months after the review.
He says it was the sense of urgency from employees and physicians, as well as the review from Channel 7, that pushed security to become more of a priority.
The amount of public entry points needed to be limited and that’s where the hospital started.
“Clearly we needed to tighten a number of areas where there was too much entry from the outside without being secured,” Ruffalo said.
The lobby area will soon see a $60,000 investment in security. The check-in desk will be moved to the entrance of the hospital and the waiting area will be moved back. That way, all visitors will have to check in with staff when they enter the building.
“I think down the road we’ll look into a visitor management system,” Ruffalo said. “First we want to see if can manage it ourselves with some additional electronic photography, a badge system for visitors.”
Ruffalo says the review of hospital’s security has been a bleak reality check, but he is confident in the improvements.
“…the only thing I can guarantee is that we will continue to make this place more safe,” he said.
The new check-in desk and badge system are expected to be in place by January 2019. After that, Ruffalo plans to bring back the Niagara Falls police to do another security review.
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