GNYHA hosted a conference call last week to help member hospitals prepare for the upcoming 2018 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City, which begins on September 18 and runs through October 5. The call included briefings by the US Secret Service, the US Department of State Diplomatic Security Services, New York City Emergency Management, and the Fire Department of the City of New York.

The participating agencies discussed their roles and responsibilities related to UNGA, and detailed circumstances that could require their personnel to interact with hospitals. The Secret Service, for example, provides protection for US heads of state, visiting heads of state, and their families, and also provides medical consultation for the thousands of government and military personnel who support UNGA activities. Similarly, the Department of State Diplomatic Security Services provides protection for foreign dignitaries attending UNGA.

During UNGA, Secret Service agents will be stationed at both Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue because of their proximity to the airports and UN headquarters, respectively. While hospital visits by UNGA participants and personnel are rare, they can and do occur. Agency representatives emphasized that if a visit is for an emergent need, close coordination will be required from clinical, operational, security, and privacy standpoints. Speakers also discussed what a hospital could expect under such circumstances, and described practices for decreasing overall facility disruption.