Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) urged the Departments of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security to coordinate a response to cyberattacks on healthcare networks.

In a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Sinema warned that the recent cyberattack on Community Health Systems by Chinese hackers demonstrated the need to ensure hospitals and other healthcare networks are protected.


"As we increasingly rely on digital health innovations to control rising healthcare costs, it is important that DHS and HHS support hospitals’ and healthcare networks’ efforts to improve their cybersecurity systems. The privacy and safety of individual patients require innovative and aggressive action on this issue," Sinema wrote.

Sinema also asked the DHS and the HHS to provide information on their cybersecurity practices for hospitals, including grants or loans that are available to healthcare networks to improve cyber infrastructure. The Arizona Democrat further suggested that healthcare networks' relatively low spending on cybersecurity and highly personal data stored by such networks made them more vulnerable to attack.

"According to cybersecurity experts, the combination of comparably lower spending on cybersecurity than other industries and the extremely valuable data possessed by hospitals and healthcare networks makes the healthcare industry a more attractive target for cybercrime," Sinema wrote.