At the Frontline: Memorial Hermann security chief Joseph Bellino

Bellino discusses how he’s helping keep Texas' largest healthcare system safe


SIW: How do you balance patient care with security and prevent domestic and other disputes that sometimes spill over into the parking lots and emergency rooms of hospitals?

Bellino: The patient is always going to come first. If that mean upsetting a family member and having that family member leave to prevent any violence then that's what we're going to do. My theory is that as more and more the American public goes from patient to consumer - because I think today, even myself, I'm more of a consumer of healthcare because I'm paying for it – and I think the more that people pay for something, the higher their expectation is. If you've noticed, over the last 20 years, we've paid very little for our healthcare. We were ok with waiting and being patient. Today, because you and I are having more come out of our pocket, I don't think we are as patient as we used to be and we're more demanding and we expect our doctors to take care of us. I'm seeing a lot less tolerance from people that used to be tolerant with wait times and understanding the role of the physician and what not. The other thing is, unfortunately, more and more people are going to the ER than ever before. We're really stressing the capacity of our ERs around the country. We're having to figure out ways to increase our throughput, take care of the patient and make them feel like a patient and not a consumer and not a number. We are always trying to find that balance.