Long and Matsui reintroduce revised bill seeking to improve HHS cybersecurity

Nov. 3, 2017

House Energy and Commerce Committee members Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced H.R. 4191, the HHS Cybersecurity Modernization Act, legislation to address cyber threats to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Earlier hearings this year examined healthcare cybersecurity efforts, healthcare sector stakeholders and HHS testified on improvements to the department’s capabilities in managing threats, the appointment of a “cybersecurity designee,” the creation and deployment of a health care focused cyber threat coordination center, and the work completed by the Health Care Industry Cybersecurity Task Force called for under Section 405 of the Cybersecurity Act of 2015. But recent cybersecurity threats like ‘WannaCry’ and ‘NotPetya’ tell us that more work is necessary.

The HHS Cybersecurity Modernization Act would support these recent efforts at HHS and build upon the work prompted by Section 405 by giving the Secretary of HHS the authority to reorganize its cybersecurity personnel and requiring the department to develop and submit a plan regarding the following:

The internal coordination between HHS offices that have regulatory authority with regards to health care cybersecurity, and how those offices will coordinate their efforts to provide a “whole-of-department” response to modern cybersecurity challenges.

The role of HHS in securing its own internal information systems as compared to its role in providing guidance, information, education, training, and assistance to the healthcare sector, and how it will differentiate between those two roles.

The challenges HHS faces as both the regulator and the Sector Specific Agency for healthcare, and how it will differentiate between these two roles.

“We can always do more to boost our cybersecurity efforts, and while HHS has made some important strides in this effort, we think more can and should be done to help protect the sensitive information the department holds,” said Long and Matsui. “We are particularly hopeful for the results that could yield from HHS detailing such a plan and look forward to continued efforts to address potential cyber threats.”

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