Jefferson Hospital makes changes after delayed communication to staff about deadly shooting

Officials say they identified that process deficiencies and human error played a part in delaying emergency communications.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Following a deadly shooting at Jefferson Hospital, officials admit there was a delay in communication and have made changes to enhance security.

Police say 55-year-old Stacey Hayes drove to the hospital around 12:08 a.m. in a U-Haul, walked to the ninth floor wearing blue scrubs, and shot a fellow nursing assistant, who has been identified as 43-year-old Anrae James.

Surveillance video reportedly shows Hayes walk up behind James and open fire while he was seated at his work station, according to sources. Hayes then allegedly kept firing as James tried to run away.

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"Our preliminary investigation following the murder of Anrae James has identified that process deficiencies and human error played a part in delaying our emergency communications," hospital officials said in a statement. "It is important to stress that the outcome would not have been different in this specific case. We are very fortunate that Monday's incident did not result in more injuries."

The hospital said it uses an overhead paging system in the building where the shooting happened, but officials said the system was not used effectively in this case.

"Delays in using our overhead communication system resulted in our team members learning about the shooting through JeffAlert, text messages and/or social media," the statement said. "We also initiated a Code Blue alert before an alert of an active shooter, drawing a response team to the area where the shooting occurred. Although we knew the shooter had left, this was a protocol error."

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Hospital officials called the shooting a "planned act of violence." It is not yet known if James was targeted.

"Unfortunately, our systems and additional investments in security, including the Strongline safety badge, turnstiles at entrances, an armed Jefferson police force and metal detectors in our Emergency Rooms, likely would not have prevented this tragedy...However, we are committed to putting in place appropriate changes that will improve our processes and ability to communicate in real-time."

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In response, the hospital said it has made changes and enhanced security measures while the investigation continues. They include:

- Contracted additional security staff and will be conducting further training with all security personnel.
- Collaborating with the Philadelphia Police for an enhanced presence on our campus.
- Initiating a more vigilant screening process for more entrances. All individuals entering our facility will be subject to enhanced screening protocols, including staff, vendors and visitors.
- Reducing entrances to the main hospital after hours and have shut down the entrance at 10th Street Gibbon after hours. Additional enhanced security measures are being instituted across our hospital divisions.

- Closing every ground level entrance that is not staffed.
- Committing to more "live drills" for active shooters. We are one of the only health systems in the region that has live, building-wide drills, but due to COVID that was paused. We began these drills in August and will continue to schedule more building and departmental drills.
- Improving our procedures for overhead pages. We will review our processes and look to automation to make this quicker and easier during a similar crisis.
- Providing education about the JeffAlert texting system and its supportive role in managing active situations. IS&T and Security are working together to evaluate the system and will make recommendations for any appropriate improvements.
- Evaluating our communications policy for active shooter and emergencies. Processes and procedures will be scrutinized and, where appropriate, changes will be recommended and staff will be redeployed, re-trained or hired.

According to police, Hayes is charged with Murder, Attempted Criminal Homicide, Aggravated Assault, Assault on Law Enforcement, VUFA, and related offenses.

Stacey Hayes

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