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26. January 5, Government Health IT – (National) DHS offers advice for ensuring telecom during pandemic. The so-called “last mile” of the nation’s telecommunications system would be vulnerable in the event of a pandemic influenza, according to a working group tasked with studying the potential communications consequences of an outbreak. The Department of Homeland Security’s assistant secretary of cybersecurity and communications weighed in on the security of a pandemic health crisis, noting that as much as 40 percent of the workforce would be unable to go to work during peak periods of an outbreak. “And you don’t get to pick which 40 percent that could be,” he said during a speech at the New York Metro Infragard Alliance Security Summit in December. “Naturally, telecommuting will be a key mechanism to keeping our businesses and government operational during a pandemic flu.” The working group, which meets monthly, found that connections to homes, hospitals, health plans, and physicians would likely be disrupted. But that scenario could be mitigated if ISPs, telecommunications carriers and service vendors put in place safeguards, policies and best practices ahead of time, he said. Among the group’s recommendations to hospitals, businesses, and government agencies: obtain a telecommunications service priority (TSP) for enterprises; subscribe to government