UVM Health Network

New Security Measures Support a Safe Care Environment for Patients and Staff

Everyone Entering Through the Emergency Department will be Screened

CVMC Emergency Department Exterior with Sign

BERLIN, Vt., – UVM Health Network – Central Vermont Medical Center has added metal detectors at its Emergency Department (ED) entrance and launched a clear bag policy for all visitors entering the Emergency Department as it continues to invest in a top priority – the safety and security of staff and patients and an environment that allows for the delivery of high-quality care.

The security upgrades are being implemented to address ongoing safety concerns, and a well-documented, nationwide increase in violence against health care workers. In recent years, security officers at CVMC have confiscated knives, firearms, pepper spray and other items inappropriate for a health care setting.

Everyone using the Emergency Department entrance, including employees, is now required to pass through a metal detector. Patients entering the ED will be prioritized to avoid delays for anyone experiencing a medical emergency. Patients and visitors not in need of the ED should use the hospital’s main entrance to enter and exit the facility to avoid delays.

"Violence against health care workers is an unfortunate reality, even here in rural Vermont. These steps will help ensure the safety of everyone in the Emergency Department, including the staff, who are here 24/7 for all of us, and patients and their families, who come to us at all hours looking for help, and rightly expect a measure of safety in doing so. We need our people to be able to focus on what they do best – providing high-quality emergency care to everyone who needs it,” says Benjamin Smith, MD, medical director of the Emergency Department at CVMC.

Under this new policy, personal bags, like purses and backpacks, are no longer allowed through the Emergency Department security screening. Anyone entering the ED will be asked to leave bags in their vehicles, or somewhere else offsite. Property that a patient or visitor wishes to remain with them can be placed in a clear plastic bag, which will be available in the ED entrance area. There is limited capacity to temporarily check bags with the security team.

The security policy is designed to decrease wait times and increase safety. Clear bags can be more easily searched, reduce faulty bag searches, and reduce the risk and transmission of infectious diseases.