Friday, August 03, 2007

Security issues for hospitals

Scary words: "Hospital = Target"

In this week's Health Lawyers Weekly, Mark Rogers analyzes hospital-security issues in a post-9/11 world. The risk is anything but speculative, as this list demonstrates:

Several incidents since the attacks of 9/11 have highlighted this risk. Consider
the following:

  • November 2002: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued an alert to hospitals in San Francisco, Houston, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., warning of a vague, uncorroborated terrorist threat.

  • August 2004: The FBI and U.S Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a nationwide terrorism bulletin that al-Qaeda may attempt to attack Veterans Affairs Hospitals as an alternative to more heavily guarded U.S. military institutions. The bulletin indicated that there had been persistent reports of suspicious activity at medical facilities throughout the United States.

  • November 2005: Police in London, England arrest two suspected terrorists accused of plotting a bomb attack. One of the suspected terrorists was found to have a piece of paper with the words in Arabic, “Hospital = Target.”

  • April 2005: FBI and DHS investigated incidents of imposters posing as hospital accreditation surveyors. The Joint Commission sent security alerts to the 5,000 medical institutions it accredits and warned them to be on the lookout for suspicious activity.

  • July 2007: Eight individuals, all of them either physicians or other medical professionals associated with Britain’s National Health Service, were taken into custody in relation to attempted car-bomb attacks in London and a car-bomb attack at Glasgow Airport in Scotland. The FBI reported that two of the suspects contacted the Philadelphia-based Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates to inquire about working in the United States as physicians.
Worth reading (as is the rest of this news-filled issue) . . . .

posted by tommayo, 2:43 PM

Health care law (including public health law, medical ethics, and life sciences), with digressions into constitutional law, poetry, and other things that matter