UK HealthCare

UK HealthCare, UK Police Provide Update on Ongoing Safety Enhancements for UK HealthCare Facilities

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 10, 2022) — University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare officials continue to add security measures in response to increasing reports of violence taking place across the nation in health care settings, including a plan to invest more than $5 million in security enhancements.

Today, UK Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Mark F. Newman, M.D., and UK Police Chief Joe Monroe held a virtual forum for UK HealthCare employees to discuss the ongoing work taking place to improve the safety and security of employees, patients and visitors at UK HealthCare facilities.

“Our goal is to provide a safe environment for patients, families and all who work and learn here in our facilities,” Newman said. “To do this, we are – and will be – continuously assessing and improving our comprehensive safety efforts.”

During the past year, a security consultant has been working with the UK Police Department (UKPD) to complete the first phase of a continuous enterprise security review with an initial focus on enhancing perimeter security and fortifying the emergency departments at UK Chandler Hospital and UK Good Samaritan Hospital, said Monroe.

“UK HealthCare and UK Police maintain a strong relationship, growing from a partnership that was established in the late 1990s to provide security officers throughout the enterprise,” Monroe said. “This partnership has grown to include physical security, video cameras, ID operations, emergency planning and response and dedicated police personnel.”

Safety enhancements to be implemented include:

  • Addition of UK Blue Emergency Towers to walkways where staff and patients travel frequently.
  • Enhancement of exterior lighting to improve visibility around UK HealthCare facilities.
  • Addition of electronic access control to all perimeter doors to restrict public access as well as replacement and modernization of aged entryways.
  • Utilization of emerging technology to enhance threat detection and expanding panic alarms and lockdown capabilities.
  • Increased security camera coverage to improve situational awareness

In addition to these facility and technology improvements, several operational enhancements and training programs also are planned or underway, including:

  • Expansion of UK HealthCare and UKPD Crisis Management and Preparedness partnership.
  • De-escalation training, response to active aggressor training and prevention of workplace violence training.
  • Piloting of a preventative rounding program with UKPD Health Care Security at UK Good Samaritan Hospital

“We also are researching better ways to make UK HealthCare a weapons-free location through screening technology and looking at strategic efforts to increase dedicated police presence on the UK HealthCare campus,” Monroe added.

Next steps in the plan include continuing to perform assessments at all UK HealthCare facilities and providing recommendations and enhancements.

UK HealthCare also has committed to ensuring all new facility structures and renovations moving forward will meet UK security design standards, Newman said.

To date, several security enhancements already have been put in place, including always having a minimum of one police officer at emergency departments at both UK Chandler Hospital and UK Good Samaritan Hospital at all times and annual workplace violence web-based training available for all staff.

And, most visibly, UK Police began using handheld metal detectors to “wand” all patients and visitors entering the emergency departments (EDs) at UK Chandler Hospital and UK Good Samaritan Hospital in April 2021, followed by the installation of fixed metal detectors at all EDs in July 2021.

“Providing a safe environment for our staff, our learners and everyone who comes to our medical campus has never been more important or more challenging,” Newman said. “But it is a priority for us to do everything we can to continuously assess and improve our comprehensive safety plan.”