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Homeland Security Threats

Quality, Safety & Oversight Group- Emergency Preparedness General Guidance

Guidance for Surveyors, Providers and Suppliers for Natural Disaster Preparedness

Homeland Security threats, such as cyber-attacks, can have a massive impact on healthcare organizations and lead to a complete shutdown of operations. Attacks such as Ransomware, as experienced by MedStar Washington Hospital Center in 2016, further emphasized the need for healthcare organizations to continue strengthening their information security systems to protect confidential and personal identifiable information (PII).

Currently, hospital conditions of participation, require that facilities develop, implement and maintain, an effective antiviral (computer software use to protect and detect disruptive software) computer software program to prevent malware (disruptive software) virus from an unauthorized cyber-attack. Ransomware is one of the latest measures which is considered malware, aimed at requiring providers to unlock their system using an online payment in order to enter back into the facility’s electronic medical records system. Cyber/information security therefore is pivotal to preventing compromise to PII, but equally so to ensure continuity of patient treatment and care.

The downloadable section and related links provide additional resources to providers/suppliers in preparedness, response and areas of consideration related to cyber security.

In addition to Cyber security threats facing the healthcare organizations today, physical threats and attacks have also been seen in recent years, which have affected healthcare organizations. Hospitals for instance have experiences mass surge incidents with violence, shooting sprees and terrorism attacks, such as the Boston Marathon Bombing and others. Therefore, this section also provides additional resources for planning of mass surge incidents in the healthcare community.

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