Contact: Rachael Kagan, Department of Public Health

415 420-5017 cell, 415 206-3170 desk or


Recommendations for infrastructure, continuing improvements

 SAN FRANCISCO – The Department of Public Health announces that the independent review by UCSF Medical Center of San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center’s security program is completed and was presented to Mayor Edwin Lee today.

 The review, conducted from October 2013 to March 2014, took a comprehensive look at the hospital’s security program and produced recommendations for consideration by the City.

“I would like to thank UCSF for this extremely thorough and helpful independent review and evaluation that we can now use to make sure that San Francisco General meets the highest standards of security for all San Franciscans,” Mayor Lee said. “San Francisco General is a great public hospital that we rely on every day, for all our residents and visitors. We must ensure that the security matches the excellent quality medical care at SFGH.”

The review recommends that San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) take steps to strengthen the infrastructure to support outstanding security, such as appointing a full-time Hospital Security Program Manager, providing additional space for a comprehensive Security Operations Center and investing in security equipment and technology.

“The review creates a road map for us as we continue to improve security,” said Barbara Garcia, Director of Health. “It lays out a path to achieve state-of-the-art security for our patients, visitors and staff. The independent review gave us exactly what we need to plan next steps.”

Of note, several of the recommendations are already underway. These include developing a comprehensive security management plan, orientation and training program, and developing a security check-list to be part of regular environment of care rounds.

Additionally, the new acute care building currently under construction at SFGH will have stronger security features from day one, including enhanced surveillance cameras and tighter access controls.

“We welcome this review by a neighboring hospital and thank them for sharing their expertise and insights with us,” said Sue Currin, RN, MSN, CEO of San Francisco General Hospital. “We have already made significant progress on many of the recommendations. We also benefit from new ideas and suggestions that will be helpful going forward to deliver the most secure campus for all our patients, staff and visitors.”

The recommendations regarding security operations, which are carried out by the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department (SFSD) under contract by the Department of Public Health (DPH) sites throughout the City, include establishing a formal relationship with a certified 911 call center for emergencies, defining security staffing and performance metrics, and improving communication between the Sheriff’s Department and DPH and hospital leadership.

The independent review by UCSF Medical Center was requested by Mayor Lee after the tragic death of SFGH patient Lynne Spalding Ford. That tragedy was rigorously investigated by state and federal health care regulators. In January, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services verified the hospital’s compliance with its Plan of Correction toimprove the hospital’s ability to address security issues and improve safety.

The UCSF Medical Center independent review was not an additional investigation, but rather took a global look at the security program for the entire hospital campus.

“With the independent review, we were able to go the extra mile on behalf of our patients, staff and visitors,” Currin said. “We are already a safer organization today, and we will study these recommendations to learn how we can make further improvements.”

The review notes several improvements that already have occurred:

  • Daily (emergency) stairwell checks, door alarms converted to continuous audible alarms requiring deactivation; and charge nurse checks for all patients when alarms are activated;
  • Development of a Missing Patient Policy and Procedure including a house-wide “Code Green” announcement and search protocols;
  • Assignment of a Sheriff’s Captain to SFGH as the on-site Institutional Police Unit Commander; the Captain is having weekly meetings with the hospital CEO and monthly meetings with the Public Health Director;
  • Two SFSD Lieutenants were assigned to SFGH as site commanders providing 7-day per week supervision;
  • SFSD Training Officer was assigned to SFGH;
  • An orientation and training program was established and completed for all 46 assigned Deputy Sheriffs at SFGH;
  • SFSD developed a six-week training course of DPH sites that is being implemented;
  • Examination of the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between SFGH and the Sheriff’s Department has begun for the provision of security services;
  • (Revised) SFGH’s Security Management Plan;
  • SFSD has reviewed resources available through the International Association of Hospital Safety and Security (IAHSS) website;
  • The policy on the Close Observation of the Hospitalized Patient was revised to clarify communication, triggers for patient evaluation and documentation of physician orders and actions.

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