Employee reaches out to WMBF news about local hospital security concerns

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - When you go to the hospital, the last thing you want to worry about is your safety, which is why there is security in place, but recently, there's concern, Grand Strand Medical Center, may have cut back.

A "concerned employee," of Grand Strand Medical Center, sent an anonymous letter asking WMBF News to look into the security measures at Grand Strand Medical Center.

It reads in part, "As of December 14th the hospital has removed the officers from the main entrances and has stop the use of the Fast Pass System. Visitors and employees are no longer safe - anyone can enter."

WMBF News went to the hospital, to follow-up. When we walked in, there were volunteers at the front desk, but nobody took our ID and scanned it in, like they used to.

Hospital representatives confirmed, they have removed the Visitor Management Program.

"We're re-evaluating our visitor management program due to feedback from our visitors that have come in," Grand Strand Medical Center Marketing Director Julie Kopnicky said.

Kopnicky said visitors felt it was too time consuming.

"We have put a committee in place to evaluate the process to make sure it's a more efficient and friendly process for our visitors, our patients that are coming for outpatient services, and our staff," she said.

The committee is not ruling out, bringing it back in the future.

On any given shift, seven armed officers are assigned areas to monitor in the hospital, every day, all day.

There's also more than 150 surveillance cameras, on the premises.

"Several floors in our hospital are locked such as our maternity center, to avoid infant abduction, we've had that always in place," Kopnicky said. "Were still taking our measures that we need to take to keep our staff, our patients and our visitors safe."

Security measures are also in place at other local hospitals.

"We have robust security measures in place at Tidelands Health, including a fully staffed security force. To help ensure the effectiveness of our security measures, we do not publicly disclose specifics of our security protocols. However, we are following national best practices and are dedicated to keeping our patients, visitors and providers safe," Margaret Lamb with Tidelands Health said.

Conway Medical Center representative Julie Rajotte said in a statement, "Conway Medical Center employs a variety of techniques to ensure the safety of our patients, employees, visitors and physicians.  We have a full-time Security Department within our facility and work closely with the City of Conway Police Department.  Additionally and strategically we contract with local law enforcement agents to provide additional coverage at peak times."

Conway Medical Center does not screen patients and visitors as they enter the facility.

Representatives with each hospital in the area made sure to include, your safety, is their number one priority.

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