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Provider Education: Rapid Response Protocol

Below is a sample protocol to follow if ICE or other law enforcement present at your health care institution.  

Simply put, protect your most vulnerable patients and remember your right to remain silent.  Refer all questions to your organization's designated representative (ideally someone well-versed in the law, such as Risk Management).  By practicing this protocol consistently - in the same way you might practice a code for an active threat -  you will know what to do if and when law enforcement presents at your health center.

Recognizing Federal Agents

- May be uniformed or in plain clothes

- May ask for a specific person or group OR may be doing a general sweep of a public area

- May be waiting outside a clinic or designated private area (this is legal)

Step 1: Protect Patients

- Call for assistance from other employees

- Immediately move as many patients as possible, starting with the most vulnerable into clinic/hospital areas designated as "private."

- This is usually behind a desk, in a room, inside the hospital gated area.

- Assign clinic employees to stay with families, patients

- Remind patients of their right to remain silent 

- As much as possible, keep patients and families calm

Step 2: Activate Institutional Rapid Response

-If your workplace has a Rapid Response Protocol in place, immediately activate it.  If not, call the clinic supervisor

-eg: SF Department of Public Health

1) Notify Department Leadership 

2) Department leadership calls Office of Director of Health (415-554-2600)

What to Tell The

Rapid Response Network:

- Identify yourself, your role, & where you are calling from

- What time the incident started

- Who was involved

- Details of the event

- Outcome of event (if over)

- Contact Information

Step 3: Call Regional Rapid Response Network

-San Francisco: SFILEN Response Network : (415) 200-1548​
-Alameda County Rapid Response : (510) 241-4011
-State (ICE out of California): 1-844-878-7801
-Nationwide (United We Dream): 1-844-363-1423

Step 4: Review the Warrant

- You do not have to talk with law enforcement or comply with requests if they do not have a valid court order. 

- Check the type of warrant - if it's administrative, you do not have to do anything

- Check the scope of the warrant and object if officer attempts to go beyond the scope of the warrant

- Check that the warrant:

- Is a valid judicial warrant
- Is signed by a judge or magistrate judge
- States the address of the premises to be searched
- Is being executed during the time period specified on the warrant, if any

Step 5: Document Everything

- Ask non-vulnerable individuals to record encounter using their phone (if in public area)
- Assign one clinic employee to document the encounter:
- Note officers' insignia, badge number, and name if possible

- Consider: ACLU Phone App (uploads videos directly to ACLU even if phone is confiscated).

Tips For Interacting with ICE​:

Once the presence of federal authorities is recognized, immediately activate your Rapid Response Protocol or, if you do not have one, contact your supervisor.

If the person is identifiable as an federal agent, you do NOT have to interact with them unless presented with a warrant or court order.  If you are presented with a legal document, contact your supervisor or Rapid Response Provider before providing any confidential information or access to areas designated as private.

Take steps to ensure that all PHI is not in plain sight and all PHI is discussed out of earshot.

If there is an unidentified person at your hospital or clinic, ask them to identify themselves.

If someone identified as law enforcement is in a space designated as private, ask them/demand that they leave unless they have a court order to be there.

Step 6: Debrief

- How the Raid/Encounter started

- Result of the Encounter

- Describe your interactions with ICE & the legal & advocacy representatives you contacted

- How you recorded the Raid/Encounter

- Review the information in this toolkit as a refresher training

- Discuss how to notify others of the Raid/Encounter and how to best prepare for the next one

You Can Practice!

Click here for Scenarios.

Responding to ICE in Health Care Settings

Rapid Response Resources

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