December 24, 2011

Utah children's hospital screening visitors for history of sex offenses

12-24-2011 Utah:

SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake City children's hospital is screening visitors to see whether registered sex offenders are entering the building.

Primary Children's Medical Center first implemented the computerized visitor check-in program in mid-June, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

The Easy Lobby visitor check-in program screens the driver licenses of all visitors over the age 16. Visitors' names are checked against sex offender registries in all 50 states.

Since June, 60,000 people have been screened. Nine were flagged as offenders.

"We're living in a vulnerable society these days," said Mike Creason, assistant administrator over facility management at Primary Children's. "This gives us that layer of security."

Creason said no specific incident prompted the hospital to implement the screening program. Other major children's hospitals in the region are using similar systems, he said:

Assistant administrator Mike Creason says some 60,000 people have been screened and nine were flagged as offenders.

The hospital allows parents or guardians tapped as offenders to visit their children, but require the visits to occur either in the child's room or public areas. Nursing supervisors also are notified of the visitor's status.

Some visitors have been asked to leave, Creason said.

The Massachusetts-based Easy Lobby also sells the system to corporations, governments and schools, company spokesman John Murzycki said. More than 100 other hospitals are using the system nationwide, he said.

Primary Children's does not screen visitors to outpatient clinics.

Christine Evans, who sits on the hospital's family advisory council, said she's glad to see the screening program in use, even if it increases the time it takes for visitors to check in. Her own family benefits from the increased security as her 12-year-old daughter suffers from hydrocephalus and is a regular patient, Evans said.

"It did concern me not knowing who was walking around the hospital," Evans said. "There were times when I couldn't be right by her bedside and I just like to know she's 100 percent safe." ..Source.. by The Republic

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