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Pallone: We Must Continue to Strengthen Health Cybersecurity

Apr 4, 2017
Press Release

Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) spoke about the importance of continued improvement to health care cybersecurity today at a Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing titled, “Cybersecurity in the Heath Care Sector: Strengthening Public-Private Partnerships:”

Mr. Chairman, thank you for convening this hearing today.  This Committee has a long history of examining cybersecurity, and while we have made progress, it is clear we still have work to do. 

We continue to see increasingly frequent and severe cyberattacks in both the public and private sectors.  And yet, our dependence on the Internet and interconnected information systems only continues to grow.  Faced with these realities, we must find ways to bolster our defenses.

This is especially true in the critical sector of health care.  Reports of cyber breaches such as the Anthem case highlight the need for all industry members to come together and find solutions.  With the interconnection of health records—and now with network-connected medical devices—this problem is becoming more urgent.

While there is no single solution to guarantee that sensitive data will not be compromised, it appears that the Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISAC) may play an important role in our overall cyber-defense strategy.

Other industries have used the ISAC model to encourage private companies to share information about cyber threats, and today we will hear about similar efforts at the National Health ISAC.  

Personal information and medical records are increasingly at risk of cyberattack, and therefore it is crucial for members of the health care sector to have access to information about threats and vulnerabilities.  If the National Health ISAC can leverage and share that information, it may be able to help strengthen the cybersecurity of the health care community.

I am interested in hearing about what capabilities the National Health ISAC can offer the health industry, and what challenges it faces.

I am also pleased to welcome Merck to the hearing today, represented by Mr. Terry Rice, Vice President for IT Risk Management at Merck.  An effective national strategy for cybersecurity depends on a close partnership between government and the private sector, so I look forward to hearing the perspectives of Merck, Philips, and other companies in the health sector.

We are faced with increasing threats in the health care sector, and that requires us to continue to identify effective ways to strengthen our cybersecurity.

These problems do not have easy solutions.  In order to prevent and defend against a growing number of cyberattacks, we will need long-term commitments from many players.  I look forward to hearing from our witnesses about how the National Health ISAC can enhance our cybersecurity, and how this Committee can support those efforts.

Thank you and I yield back.