LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Lee Memorial Hospitals will be instituting a new security system, starting March 4. It's called Fast Pass, and it requires a visitor to obtain a sticker badge with their name and picture on it, in the lobby of any entrance.
"We believe with the level of violence in our society right now, we have to do more to protect our patients and workers and visitors. This we hope will be a deterrent to some person who may have bad intentions. Perhaps it will keep that person from just popping into one of our hospitals," says Mary Briggs of Lee Memorial.
The new system requires you to stop at the front desk, give a government-issued ID to the volunteer, and that person will scan the ID (such as a driver's license). Then the volunteer uses a machine to take a picture, and then issues you a sticker badge with your name and picture, and the date. It is in effect a visitor pass to get inside the building. It's good for one day only. It will be required for visitors as well as vendors who are doing business in the hospital building.
"There is no one specific incident that kicks this off. However, the murder of a patient at a hospital in Collier Co. in 2011, and the Newtown school massacre last December, really got us thinking about enhanced security precautions," says Briggs.
The 4 hospitals int he system also will post an un-armed security guard in the lobby of every entrance during business and visiting hours. That guard will be there to help handle any problems with the new check-in procedure at the front desk.
There could be some delays with the new system, although the health system is hoping to keep them to a minimum. It is using this week to train volunteers at Lee Memorial Hospital in how to use the Fast Pass system. The system will begin at Lee Memorial and then spread to the other three hospitals in the system.