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Senators Announce Oversight Initiative on HIT Security

US Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) recently announced a bipartisan initiative focused on examining the security of HIT and the health industry's preparedness for cyber threats.

"Patients, hospitals, insurers—and all Americans who value the safety and privacy of their sensitive personal information—have a right to be alarmed by reports that their electronic records might be vulnerable to a cyber attack," says Alexander. "I look forward to working with Sen. Murray as we take a serious look at how these types of attacks may be prevented and examine whether Congress can help.

"We should be doing everything we can to make sure that personal and private information is protected from the growing threat of cyberattacks, and this is especially true when it comes to health care," says Murray. "I'm pleased to be working with Sen. Alexander on finding ways to keep personal information in our health care system safe and secure." 

The goal of the Alexander-Murray initiative is to examine whether Congress can help ensure the safety of HIT, including EHRs, hospital networks, insurance records, and network-connected medical devices, like pacemakers and continuous glucose monitors.

Begun last month, the ongoing staff meetings will include participants from relevant government oversight agencies, independent cybersecurity experts, health industry leaders, and others.

The senators' announcement comes after news that Anthem Health Insurance, the second largest health insurer in the United States, was the victim of a hacker attack, exposing millions of customer records—including names, addresses, birthdays, and Social Security numbers.

Source: US Senate