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Friday, February 24, 2012

Patient Rights vs. Security

When it comes to the rights of a patient, it sometimes conflicts with our security operations, especially when it comes to the history of violent or abusive patients and “No Trespassing” orders.

According to Federal Law, NO patient is to be refused medical care in an emergency, or when there is a life threatening condition.  Sometimes, our security mindset overtakes us, and we forget this. 
Case in point. 
Recently, a hospital in our area received a patient via ambulance.  The patient that was coming in on ambulance was one that was known to the staff, and one that had been a security problem in the past. Upon seeing the man, a nurse realized that the patient had a NO TRESPASS notice that had been served.  The patient was escorted off the property, and sent to another facility.  Though security was not involved, the fact that security had indeed filed the NO TRESPASS notice on the man became an issue.
The result:  The facility in question is facing a $500,000.00 fine, and two hotel employees are unemployed.  And it will not end there.  Policies have been rewritten, and training has been done for all staff members.  The dust has not settled on the matter, and more changes will be coming.
It is as much a matter of luck as it is good training that we were not involved.  Turning away a patient can have devastating effects, both on an institution and individuals.  Federal fines are steep, and the additional inspections and scrutiny that follows can lead to more fines and separations.  It might be a good idea to review your NO TRESPASS policy with your officers and clients.  Good policy, good training and good people are the key, and prevention and review can save all of us money and jobs.

Tommy Vickers,
Operations Manager-South Carolina/Georgia

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