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Top health lawmakers voice concern about HHS's implementation of cyber law

Top health lawmakers voice concern about HHS's implementation of cyber law
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A bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers are raising concerns about how the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is implementing a cyber law that aims to boost security by providing digital threat data.

In a letter on Tuesday, the top lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee pressed HHS Secretary Alex Azar to provide more information about executing the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA). 

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“As cyber threats to the health care sector increase in frequency and severity, it is imperative that HHS provide clear and consistent leadership and direction to the sector regarding cyber threats,” the lawmakers wrote. 

The lawmakers argued that the agency's cybersecurity strategy has continued to change since HHS delivered its Cyber Threat Preparedness Report (CTPR) to the committee last April, and even that “report omitted or lacked sufficient detail on many outstanding issues.”

"HHS’s decision to present to our committees a report that was outdated, incomplete, and inaccurate raises concerns about HHS’s ability to address the growing number and severity of cyber threats facing the health care sector," the letter reads.

The lawmakers pointed to a series of information gaps that they said HHS needs to address, particularly the lack of information the report had on HHS's Healthcare Cybersecurity and the Department of Homeland Security's Communications Integration Center (HCCIC).

"The HCCIC was announced in April 2017 with the intention that it would be operational by June 2017. The absence of the HCCIC within the CTPR in May of 2017 renders the report outdated, incomplete, and inaccurate," they wrote, noting confusion regarding the role and status of the the center.

"The HCCIC’s surprise announcement, initial success, and subsequent troubles, combined with the inadequacies in the CTPR, have exacerbated the very issues that CISA was intended to address," they concluded.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenHere are the three GOP lawmakers who voted for the Equality Act Lobbying world Bottom line MORE (R-Ore.) and ranking member Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneHouse Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 House Democrats criticize Texas's 'shortcomings in preparations' on winter storms House panel to probe conspiracy theories in the news MORE (D-N.J.) and Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderCongress addressed surprise medical bills, but the issue is not resolved Trump renominates Judy Shelton in last-ditch bid to reshape Fed Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes MORE (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayBiden convenes bipartisan meeting on cancer research Pro-Choice Caucus asks Biden to remove abortion fund restrictions from 2022 budget Senate Democrats offer fresh support for embattled Tanden MORE (D-Wash.) all signed on to the letter.