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). 


“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"HHS’s decision to present to our committees a report that was outdated, incomplete, and inaccurate raises concerns about HHS’s ability to address the growing number and severity of cyber threats facing the health care sector," the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 The absence of the HCCIC within the CTPR in May of 2017 renders the report outdated, incomplete, and inaccurate," they wrote, noting confusion regarding the role and status of the the center.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 WaldenVulnerable Republicans throw ‘Hail Mary’ on pre-existing conditions GOP senator wants Apple, Amazon to give briefing on reported Super Micro hack Overnight Health Care: Bill banning 'gag clauses' on drugs heads to Trump's desk | Romney opposes Utah Medicaid expansion | GOP candidate under fire over ad on pre-existing conditions MORE (R-Ore.) and ranking member Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneDems eye ambitious agenda if House flips Hillicon Valley: Facebook rift over exec's support for Kavanaugh | Dem worried about Russian trolls jumping into Kavanaugh debate | China pushes back on Pence House Democrat questions big tech on possible foreign influence in Kavanaugh debate MORE (D-N.J.) and Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Senate blocks Dem measure on short-term health plans | Trump signs bill banning drug price 'gag clauses' | DOJ approves Aetna-CVS merger | Juul ramps up lobbying Trump signs bills banning drug pricing 'gag clauses' Senate defeats measure to overturn Trump expansion of non-ObamaCare plans MORE (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: House passes funding bill | Congress gets deal on opioids package | 80K people died in US from flu last winter Wilkie vows no 'inappropriate influence' at VA Dems push back on using federal funds to arm teachers MORE (D-Wash.) all signed on to the letter.