Florida’s Healthcare and Public Health (HPH) sector is vital to maintaining the state’s public health and increasing community health resilience. The sector includes federal, state, local, and private hospitals, health systems, research facilities, as well as medical suppliers and manufacturers. The HPH sector’s economic value and access to personal information may make it a target for malicious actors.  1. Cyberattacks – Cyberattacks using malware continue to occur in the HPH sector. Cyberattacks on this sector could impact medical equipment, access to health and safety information, and risk the exposure of the personal health data of patients and healthcare personnel.

  1. Scams and Internet Crime – Criminal cyber actors may also seek to take advantage of major health events to exploit individuals through scams or dissemination of malicious software.
  1. Healthcare Fraud – Healthcare fraud occurs when medical services are fraudulently provided in a deliberate effort to obtain unauthorized payments. Healthcare fraud includes billing for services not provided, filing duplicate claims, soliciting kickbacks, and billing for unnecessary services.

Other Threats and Hazards  Events that seriously interrupt the delivery of medical treatment pose a threat for the HPH sector. These interruptions can have serious implications for the health and safety of populations 1. Disease Outbreaks – Outbreaks of disease and major health events, like the COVID-19 pandemic, can cause a strain on the HPH sector due to the increase in preventative efforts, hospitalizations, and demands on healthcare personnel. The rapid spread of infectious diseases continues to demonstrate how pandemics can seriously impact medical facilities.

  1. Supply Chain Disruption – Healthcare facilities rely on a consistent inventory of supplies and medicines. Shortages of these supplies due to increased need, declines in production, or challenges in transporting materials can cause delays in patient care and limit effectiveness of care.  
  1. Natural Disasters – Following natural disasters, hospitals may experience increased demands for services due to injuries and other disaster-related ailments. Damaged healthcare facilities can also limit individuals’ access to treatment. Furthermore, natural disasters that limit transportation modes, can lead to delays in the delivery of necessary medical supplies.

Resources The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides guidance for small businesses in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) provides recommended strategies for businesses and employers in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides free online cybersecurity awareness training for healthcare personnel.

The Center for Disease Control provides free disaster epidemiology training for state, local, tribal, and territorial healthcare agencies and organizations.

CDC: Disaster Epidemiology & Response Training and Technical Assistance []