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Chairman Alexander Urges HHS to Implement Cybersecurity Law

The chairman of the Senate health committee says the recent hacking of MedStar Health shows the need for Health and Human Services (HHS) to implement cybersecurity legislation passed by Congress "with the urgency patients and hospitals deserve."

"The consequences of cyber attacks like yesterday's hacking at MedStar Health can be catastrophic for America's patients—imagine, an attack leaving doctors unable to access crucial information in a patient's health history or delaying a surgery for hours on end," says Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn). "Congress has passed a law to help keep hospitals and patients safe from these malicious attacks—calling for Health and Human Services to give hospitals and doctors clear information on the best ways to prevent a hack in the first place and putting someone at the agency on the flagpole if a cyber attack occurs. Yesterday's attack, which, unfortunately, is not unique, shows the need for HHS to implement the law with the urgency patients and hospitals deserve."

The attack on MedStar Health forced the hospital chain, which serves hundreds of thousands of patients, to shut down its e-mail and health records database in an effort to keep the virus from spreading further throughout the organization. This incident follows similar cyber attacks targeting at least three other medical institutions in recent weeks.

In 2015, the Senate health committee authored a provision, which passed as part of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015, that would help protect the health care industry from cyber attacks by doing the following:

Source: US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions