Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Fortify Cybersecurity in Healthcare and Public Health Industry

A bipartisan pair of senators introduced a new bill that seeks to enhance the cybersecurity of the healthcare and public health (HPH) industry, in view of the latest White House notice regarding the escalating risk of Russian cyber threats.

A week ago, President Biden and the White House released an alert concerning the higher threat of Russian cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, which includes probable attacks on the HPH industry as a result of the sanctions not long ago enforced by America on Russia on account of the attack of Ukraine. The warning was based upon intelligence that the Russian Government is finding means for likely cyberattacks.

According to the alert, on March 24, 2022, U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) recommended the Healthcare Cybersecurity Act (S.3904). The primary purpose of the act is to strengthen cooperation between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). If approved, CISA should team up with the HHS on a variety of cybersecurity options to better secure the HPH field versus cyberattacks.

In consideration of the danger of Russian cyberattacks, it is essential to take proactive measures to boost the cybersecurity of medical care and public health providers, as per Senator Rosen. Hospitals and health centers are part of our critical infrastructure and become a lot more targeted by malicious cyberattacks, which may lead to data breaches, greater price of care, and unfavorable patient health results. This bipartisan bill will allow the fortifying of cybersecurity defenses and preserve lives.

CISA would have to do thorough research on certain cybersecurity dangers confronting the HPH segment, which would call for a study of how cybersecurity risks, in particular, affect health care assets, an analysis of the issues health care assets encounter in safeguarding updated data systems, and an examination of applicable cybersecurity employees shortages. The bill will additionally provide cybersecurity instruction for HPH sector staff to enhance their understanding of cybersecurity threats and the most helpful ways to minimize them.

2021 was in particular a terrible year for healthcare business cyberattacks. There were 714 data breaches involving 500 or higher records reported to the Department of Health and Human Services in 2021. It was the worst year ever for the healthcare sector in terms of data breaches. Nearly 46 million breached records were reported to the HHS in 2021. Data breach reports are currently double the amount in 2017 and hacking cases have risen each year. Hacking/IT incidents in 2021 had become 82% of the reported healthcare data breaches; it was just 41% in 2017.

Health centers protect lives and keep lots of sensitive, personal data, that’s why they are targeted for cyber-attacks, mentioned by Dr. Cassidy. This bill safeguards patients’ information and public health by fortifying the toughness of healthcare providers in cyber warfare.