WRHS CEO thanks screeners and security staff, offers COVID-19 guidelines for holiday


With families and loved ones preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday, White River Health System President and CEO Gary Paxson visited with White River Now’s Chad Whiteaker about proper guidelines for gathering during the pandemic.

And while WRHS doctors and nurses selflessly work the front lines, Paxson also gave time to give thanks for some unsung heroes ensuring the safety and well-being of patients and staff at WRHS facilities: the door screeners and security teams.

“Things in our society right now are very tense,” said Paxson. “The precautions we’ve had to take by limiting visitors into our facility are difficult. Everybody wants to be with their loved ones, especially in times of being cared for in a health care facility.”

The door screeners are the ones who usually have to communicate the entrance guidelines to some anxious loved ones, Paxson said, and the WRHS security team is always close by for assistance.

“We’re blessed to have 24/7 security,” said Paxson. “We really needed dedicated people who focus purely on the security and safety in our facility for our staff and for those that we are caring for. They serve a very important role in our facility.”

Paxson said the WRHS security team has also been through an Arkansas State Police training program that certifies security officers, and the team has a productive relationship with local law enforcement.

“We had all of our officers go through that [ASP program] as an extra measure of training and excellence to make sure they are trained in things such as conflict resolution, de-escalation of individuals, firearm training, trauma training, legal implications…so we took that extra step to make sure they are trained appropriately as their jobs are so important to the safety and security of those here. They do a great job of working with our local law enforcement — both the Batesville Police Department and the Independence County Sheriff, and we appreciate them working with us when situations escalate above the legal authority of our officers. They are always quick to respond and help us work through those [situations], as well.”

As for Thanksgiving, Paxson told Whiteaker the Centers for Disease Control recommendation of less than 10 people is a “great guideline” for all to utilize.

Listen to the entire conversation with Gary Paxson and White River Now’s Chad Whiteaker below:

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