March 5, 2019
There is so much more going on in Washington D.C. than scandals and investigations. In an effort to develop a national strategy that improves the safety, resilience and security of the U.S. healthcare industry, Senator Mark Warner, D-Va., reached out to the leaders of four federal agencies and 12 healthcare associations, including to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration and the American Medical Association.
A member of the Senate Finance Committee and co-chair of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, Senator Warner took a proactive approach, sending formal letters to these agencies asking them a list of questions regarding their strategic insights on the best ways to address cybersecurity concerns.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), there were more than 2,000 breaches of healthcare organizations between 2010 and 2017. While “breaches” might conjure images of unnamed hackers in a shadowy room, breaches reported to the HHS could be anything from a loss of data to improper disposal of data, to unauthorized access or disclosure.
Senator Warner’s letter focused on the gaps maliciously exploited by hackers. It’s estimated cyberattacks have cost the U.S. healthcare system $305 million over a five-year period.
Advocates commented on Senator Warner’s actions as a positive approach to helping healthcare providers instead of shaming them.
“Small healthcare practices don’t need additional unfunded mandates, they need help. Their focus is patient care, and they have neither the time nor resources to become information security experts.”
Healthcare will continue to be a lucrative target for hackers as cybercriminals get more creative. Those who take proactive measures will strengthen their posture to prevent being victims.
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