SALTO & Nex-Tech Provide Streamlined Electronic Access Control for Citizens Health Medical Center in Kansas
Sunday 21 July 2019
Citizens Health, Colby, KS
Kansas Citizens Health is one of the largest health care organizations in northwest Kansas and includes a hospital, health clinic, long-term care facility, and employee daycare. With state-of-the-art equipment and exceptional medical professionals, Citizens Health offers treatments for this rural community that range from emergency room visits to preventative medicine.
Citizens Health sought an upgraded security solution to meet their growing needs and concerns. They were relying on an aging hardwired access control system that included several stand-alone keypad door locks as well as doors that required mechanical keys. They also had difficulty getting the support they needed from the manufacturer when they experienced issues with performance and expansion, said Citizens Health Chief Information Officer Jacee Dobbs.
The hospital’s leadership team met with Nex-Tech, a Kansas-based system integrator specializing in physical security and access control. Nex-Tech recommended replacing the existing hardwired access control solution with SALTO Systems’ electronic access control products which they would integrate with the health care facility’s new video surveillance system and their existing health care management system.
Nex-Tech installed a mix of SALTO electronic access control solutions throughout the four buildings on the property – the hospital, the clinic, the long-term facility, and the employee daycare. The upgraded electronic locks control access to several key areas including the pharmacy, labs, administrative offices, and server rooms.
Dobbs said it was particularly important to provide controlled access with auditing for areas like the server room since it is required that health care facilities verify patient data protection in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. “Because the SALTO solution is integrated with our AXIS Communications video surveillance cameras, we now have video verification of access control events, which improves both security and compliance,” said Dobbs.
The exterior doors are hardwired and are equipped with SALTO XS4 Original escutcheons. The interior doors are wire-free and are outfitted with SALTO Mini electronic locks and SALTO advanced panic bar solutions. They also have employed the use of SALTO GEO Padlocks in storage areas.
Nex-Tech Sales Engineer and Senior Sales Representative Nathan Rohleder said they recommend SALTO for installations like Citizens Health because SALTO provides a flexible system that can blend wired and wire-free solutions that make it easy – and affordable – to manage and expand.
“SALTO gives customers the ultimate flexibility because you can have hardwired doors at your exterior entry points and wire-free doors throughout your facility,” Rohleder said. “The biggest plus is that once you have this setup, you can easily expand and add on to your system. Adding to an access control system can be cost prohibitive if you are looking at hardwired only.”
Because the system operates via the SALTO Virtual Network (SVN), it is always up to date and works even in power outages. SALTO stand-alone locks read, receive, and write information via an encrypted and secure data-on-card system that utilizes the capabilities of RFID read/write technology. With SVN, all access data is stored on and distributed by its operating credential – in this case with employee access cards.
When employees present a credential to an offline stand-alone door, not only does this control access rights to that door but, thanks to two-way communication, the door also writes data – like blacklist information or battery status – back to the RFID device. The device then transmits this information back to the server via online wall readers that are able to update and receive information anytime and anywhere in the building.
Citizens Health technology and security employees manage the system via ProAccess SPACE – SALTO’s powerful and flexible access control software platform that is easy to use and is feature rich. Dobbs said the complex currently has about 400 users consisting of full and part-time employees and PRN users, which are not permanent employees but can be called upon to work on a regular basis.
“It can be a challenge to manage access for hundreds of employees with different schedules, but SALTO has made it so much easier,” said Dobbs. “We aren’t juggling keys any longer or worrying about replacing locks due to lost keys. And if an access card gets lost or we have to remove an employee from the system, it literally takes only seconds to update in ProAccess SPACE.”
The newest addition to Citizens Health is the employee daycare. Dobbs said it is a great benefit to have employees use the same credentials they use to enter work every day to sign in and pick up their children. They have also assigned badges to non-employee parents and approved primary caregivers who might also have to pick up a child from the facility.
Overall, SALTO has provided a centralized physical security system that helps Citizens Health focus on providing health care while delivering protection for employees, patients, and visitors, said Dobbs. “We’re grateful to Nex-Tech and SALTO for a streamlined solution that has helped us move farther away from a reliance on mechanical keys and towards the future with electronic access control,” she said.
“We’re very excited to have a platform that allows us to grow. As our security needs change, SALTO will help us meet those needs.”