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Cybersecurity Experts Urge Senate to Act, Say Health Care Threats Have Never Been Greater

Federal lawmakers, fresh on the heels of approving bills mandating swift reporting of breaches and ransomware payments to the Department of Homeland Security, are ramping up their focus on cybersecurity in hospitals and health systems, citing threats to patient care and sensitive information from cyberattacks.

At a Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing,[1] experts painted ransomware and phishing attacks as the greatest cybersecurity threats to the health care sector, and urged Congress to help by facilitating safe information sharing, incentivizing cybersecurity best practices, and requiring security measures that currently are voluntary.

“Ten years ago, ‘cyber’ and ‘health care’ were not even placed in the same sentence,” said Denise Anderson, president and CEO of the Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) in Oakton, Virginia. “Today, because of the rise in digital health care, the proliferation of advances in technology, and the efficiencies of connecting devices and data, the cyber threat surface in health care has ballooned and the threat actors have followed.”

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