The Cottage Health System will be increasing security at its Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara and Goleta hospitals. The changes are largely in response to the February kidnapping of a baby from Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, although according to administration, security increases are a trend at hospitals across the country.
“We are not alone among hospitals nationwide in needing to address issues of safety, inappropriate or erratic behavior, even violence,” said president and CEO Ron Werft in a June 17 written statement. “Certainly the abduction of an infant earlier this year, in spite of Cottage’s security systems being among the best available, reinforces the need to be ever vigilant in protecting all patients who entrust us with their care.”
The hospitals plan to implement a new patient and visitor identification system in the next few weeks in which all people entering the hospital will be required to wear a badge. Over the past two years, the hospitals have increased their security through installation of new cameras, an increase in security staff, as well as the reduction of unlocked and unmonitored doors at the three facilities.