Hospital Association Wants Major Changes in DHS Threat Matrix

The American Hospital Association sent comments dated July 11 to the Department of Homeland Security seeking significant changes in the Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) for Healthcare and the Public Health Sector as it was updated on Feb. 25, 2008. James Bentley, Ph.D., AHA senior vice president of Strategy Policy Planning, wrote that a conference call with hospital association preparedness staff from around the country identified several concerns with the updated guidance. He said the listed items are "unrealistic" and expressed concern that the potential actions listed could become a requirement for federal grants or be used by courts to assess negligence.

When then-DHS Secretary Tom Ridge unveiled HSAS in March 2002, it contained five Threat Conditions: Green (low), Blue (guarded), Yellow (elevated), Orange (high), and Red (severe). The updated document identifies Yellow as the "baseline," implying that Green or Blue threat levels will not exist. "If five levels have now become three, the base or Yellow level needs to be much less comprehensive and less detailed," Bentley wrote, adding, "The threat levels and suggested actions listed in the document are not consistent with state-specified levels or recommended actions of the HavBED [the National Hospital Available Beds for Emergencies and Disasters System] requirements. It is important to harmonize the document or to acknowledge that state level actions have precedence in a tiered National Response Framework that identifies local and state emergency operations as the first two tiers."

Bentley said the document should provide for local or regional threat levels and would impose extraordinary costs by calling for background checks on all employees, which he said could undermine current offender rehabilitation programs that use hospitals as employers. The document also "fails to recognize that maintaining open access to the hospital for patients, visitors, and caregivers is a critical success factor in their operation," Bentley wrote. "The access controls components are unacceptable and need to be reconsidered and reduced."

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • EHS Management Software Buyer's Guide

    Download this buyer's guide to make more informed decisions as you're looking for an EHS management software system for your organization.

  • Steps to Conduct a JSA

    We've put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you perform a job safety analysis (JSA), which includes a pre-built, JSA checklist and template, steps of a JSA, list of potential job hazards, and an overview of hazard control hierarchy.

  • Levels of a Risk Matrix

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Industry Safe
Bulwark FR Quiz

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - March 2021

    March 2021

    Featuring:

    • EMPLOYEE TESTING
      The Impact of COVID-19 on Drug Testing
    • PROTECTIVE APPAREL
      Preparing for Unpredictable Spring Weather
    • FALL PROTECTION
      Building a Comprehensive Floor Safety Strategy
    • GAS DETECTION
      Gas Hazards and the COVID-19 Vaccine
    View This Issue