At New York City’s Metropolitan Hospital, one of New York City Health and Hospital Corporation’s 11 acute care facilities, the mission is to provide high-quality care and comprehensive health services to all New Yorkers regardless of ability to pay, says Anthony Notaroberta, Director of Operations at Metropolitan Hospital. The hospital’s security department has some of its own core values as well, specifically keeping staff, patients and visitors safe, being committed to constantly developing and learning, striving for excellence and effectively managing resources.
As a former Chief Law Enforcement Executive, Notaroberta is well-acquainted with structure and rigidity. However, those characteristics don’t have much of a place in the healthcare sector. “Here, there is a lot of flexibility and that’s necessary because no two patients are alike and everybody’s needs are a little different,” he says. “The biggest challenge for me was being able to adapt to rapidly changing issues really fast because here, you can do things differently, depending on the situation.”
Notaroberta sums up security work in one sentence: “It’s 59 minutes of boredom and one minute of sheer terror,” he says. “To me, it’s trying to explain to the security staff how they fit in with the organization, their overall mission and that what they do during those 59 minutes actually contributes something to the organization in terms of value and patient satisfaction.”
Today’s business market has created a complete shift in the security aspect of the healthcare industry, says Notaroberta. “Everything is based on satisfaction scores, and it’s not good enough to just have had a good experience anymore.” Hospitals want patients to recommend the hospital to their peers and talk about the outstanding care, which makes security’s job more complex. “Trying to get the message across to security staff how they can help with that in those 59 minutes is hard. There’s no script, there’s no standard, and that, for me, is the most difficult.”
Providing excellent customer service and paying attention to detail has made the hospital C-suite realize more than ever how important the security department is in their role of good ambassadors for the hospital. “I think they now better understand the role that we play in the day to day operation of the hospital and how critical we really are to patient satisfaction,” says Notaroberta. “The patients love us,” he says. “Between patients and staff, they know they couldn’t come here without us. We play a critical role in making sure that patients can get the treatment they need and that caregivers are able to provide that care in a safe, friendly environment.”
HHC’s chain of command organizational structure enables Notaroberta to encourage his peace officers to use discretion and flexibility when dealing with patients, he says. “We sweat the small details here, so to speak. We’ve empowered each and every officer in the department to do whatever it takes to try to satisfy a patient’s need, whatever that might be, within their ability.” For instance, if an officer is asked for help with something clinical, rather than simply giving directions, the officer will deliver the patient to someone who can help with that specific need. “We train on that empowerment annually for everybody and it has been a successful program,” Notaroberta says.
Security is measured with return and investment numbers for crime prevention programs, as well as “keeping track of our 10 busiest calls for service, including how many we do and how much time we spend, and then we’re able to attach a dollar amount to that every calendar year. This shows our partners what kind of value we contribute to the organization,” says Notaroberta.
Security’s biggest contribution to the organization’s success is “providing a sense of calm in a sector of society where things are not always calm,” Notaroberta says. “When stuff is going down and emergencies pop up, our security staff really does a tremendous job of handling the situation, which provides a sense of security and calm to the rest of the facility, whether you work here or are a patient or are visiting someone. I think that goes a long way toward our satisfaction scores.”
- Annual Revenue: $40 Billion
- Security Budget: $8 Million
- Workplace Violence Prevention
- Active Shooter
- Infant Abduction