310 Sansome Street
P.O. Box 729
Philipsburg, MT 59858
(406) 859-3271

Eye in the Sky Installed at Medical Center

June 1, 2011

A new security plan had already been devised and was slated to begin shortly when the burglars struck.

"They stole some stuff from the clinic," related Granite County Medical Center Administrator Jeff Prater, "we got all of our stuff back ... the Sheriff did a good job of assisting us."

The theft of items from the Philipsburg Clinic (Philipsburg hospital) was not the reason that a new security policy is being put into place, but the with the addition of cameras and an improved policy of locking the doors after hours, the policy may deter future thefts.

Prater explained to the Philipsburg Mail that the new security procedures and equipment are designed to ensure safety of the facility including staff and residents when the clinic is closed and when less staff are on hand.

"The security system basically came about just as a need to make sure our patients and staff are secure 24/seven," said Prater, "after hours was kind of where our point of penetration was."

The administrator emphasized that the recent theft did not motivate the three-phase security upgrade and its plan was slated before the burglars struck. He added that the hospital has been for a while equipped with a building security system.

The first phase of the project which included the installation of cameras and a new policy for outside access through the emergency room door have been put into place. Prater explained that in the past the emergency room door entrance lacked a strict policy about being locked when the clinic was closed.

"They had an opportunity to be secure, there just never was a firm policy in place to keep them secure," he said noting that the door is now automatically locked between 9:00 p.m. and 5:30 a.m.

"We had to notify the ambulance. We had to notify the Sheriff's department. We had to notify everyone involved," he added.

Though the door will be locked at night the nurse's station will maintain a frequency with emergency responders and will be notified if a trauma situation occurs so they can un lock the door before responders arrive with patients.

In addition the security camera system will allow the nurse's station the ability to see the emergency room door after hours in case some should approach it looking for help.

"Our staff that are here can monitor them during the evening hours," said Prater about the cameras, "the people that it really impacts are the hospital night staff."

There have also been a number of other cameras installed throughout the facility. The administrator said that the cameras record continuously and the data is stored. Those with access to view the cameras are the nurse's station, the Information and Technology Specialist David Lee, and Prater.

The Administrator said that the cost of phase one was $200 which came out of the information and technology budget. He said that additional security upgrades slated for phase two and three will also be budgeted from the information and technology money.

"This initial piece was $200, only. We already had the infrastructure in place, said Prater.

Phase two will involve the installation of a card reader on one of the entry ways to the hospital and equipping staff with proximity badges that have a radio frequency identification device for use after hours.

"Basically if someone enters the building, all they have to do their badge in front of the reader," said the Administrator.

Phase three will involve the addition of more cameras throughout the interior of the facility as well as some around the exterior of the building.

"The cost of the cameras is dependent on the amount of coverage we're going to have," said Prater noting there has been no cost set yet for phase two or three.

"We haven't had any negative reaction," he said.