CISA Guidance Clarifies “Essential Industry” for Healthcare

March 31, 2020 | Marc S. Ullman | Behavioral Health | Home Health | Hospitals | Legislation and Public Policy | Medical Devices and Wearables | Pharmaceuticals

On March 28, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a much-needed update clarifying what constitutes “essential industry” during the national COVID-19 response. This updated Guidance is especially important as many of the individual state declarations of emergency refer to “essential industry” without any enumeration, or specifically reference DHS-CISA agency standards.

The update notes that the list is advisory in nature and should not be considered a federal directive or standard. Moreover, as an advisory, it is not intended to be the exclusive list of critical infrastructure sectors, workers, and functions that should continue during the COVID-19 response across all jurisdictions. States are free to expand or contract the list as they deem necessary.

The healthcare and public health-related industries identified as essential include:

  • Hospital and laboratory personnel (including accounting, administrative, admitting and discharge, engineering, epidemiological, source plasma and blood donation, food service, housekeeping, medical records, information technology and operational technology, nutritionists, sanitarians, respiratory therapists, etc.).
  • Workers in other medical and biomedical facilities (including ambulatory health and surgical, blood banks, clinics, community mental health, comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation, end stage renal disease, health departments, home health care, hospices, hospitals, long term care, nursing care facilities, organ pharmacies, procurement organizations, psychiatric residential, rural health clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers, and retail facilities specializing in medical good and supplies).
  • Manufacturer workers for health manufacturing (including biotechnology companies), materials and parts suppliers, logistics and warehouse operators, distributors of medical equipment (including those who test and repair), personal protective equipment (PPE), isolation barriers, medical gases, pharmaceuticals (including materials used in radioactive drugs), dietary supplements, blood and blood products, vaccines, testing materials, laboratory supplies, cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting or sterilization supplies, and tissue and paper towel products.

The Guidance also includes detailed lists of industries in numerous other sectors.

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