Penn Medicine Spends $28 Million on Weapons Detection

During the first three months, the machine reportedly prevented 123 guns, 72 knives, and 143 other unspecified weapons from entering the facility.

Penn Medicine Spends $28 Million on Weapons Detection

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PHILADELPHIA — Penn Medicine, which includes the University of Pennsylvania Health System, spent more than $28 million to install Evolv weapons detection systems at entrances to its hospitals and outpatient facilities.

The investment is part of the system’s larger strategy to mitigate violence against healthcare workers, says UPHS CEO Kevin Mahoney and Chief Nursing Executive James Ballinghoff.

A 2022 poll found one-quarter of emergency physicians across the U.S. reported they’re getting assaulted more frequently. An April 2024 report from Press Ganey found assaults against nurses increased by 5% in 2023.

Healthcare workers are also calling for federal action to be taken to mitigate workplace violence. On March 22, the presidents of the American Nurses Association, American College of Emergency Physicians, and Emergency Nurses Associations urged lawmakers to pass two bills aimed at strengthening safety protections for healthcare employees, according to Becker’s Hospital Review.

About 2,500 people pass through the main lobby of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania each day, and a few thousand others come through additional public entrances and the emergency department. The hospital installed the security system in the lobby in October. During the first three months, the machine prevented 123 guns, 72 knives, and 143 other unspecified weapons from entering the facility, WHYY reports.

When security finds a weapon, they don’t confiscate it but instead tell them to leave the building, even if the owner is licensed and the weapon is registered.

Penn Medicine says it will phase in the machines at public and staff entrances at seven hospitals and eight ambulatory sites.

To supplement the new weapons detection system, Penn Medicine officials said they plan to distribute personal duress badges to all clinical providers and staff.

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