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October 03, 2022

With Cyberthreats on the Rise, King Joins Bipartisan Bill to Improve Healthcare Cybersecurity

MaineHealth, Central Maine Healthcare support King’s legislation informed by Cyberspace Solarium Commission work

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Office of U.S. Senator Angus King today announced that Senator King, Co-Chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, has joined bipartisan legislation to strengthen cybersecurity in the healthcare and public health sectors. As cyberthreats from Russia, China, and other bad actors increase, the Healthcare Cybersecurity Act would direct the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to collaborate with the Department of Health and Human Services on improving cybersecurity and combatting risks across public health infrastructure. Cyberattacks on healthcare systems – like the attacks on MaineHealth and Central Maine Medical Center – have become increasingly frequent; they pose serious risks to Americans’ health and sensitive personal medical information.

“In just the last years alone, two of Maine’s major healthcare providers have been the victims of cyberattacks. This new threat to America’s critical infrastructure is real, and could literally mean the difference between life and death – we must take proactive steps to enhance the cybersecurity of our healthcare and public health sectors,” said Senator King. “The bipartisan Healthcare Cybersecurity Act would create a coordinated federal program to help healthcare systems across the country better understand and respond to the cyberthreats they face. This would mean less breaches, a better organized government response, and a greater peace of mind for Maine people seeking healthcare. As cyberthreats from our adversaries grow, this is a commonsense effort to keep our critical health infrastructure safe and I hope it can continue to get broad, bipartisan support.”

“The protection of patient health information is essential to meeting MaineHealth's vision of supporting healthy communities,” said Daniel Nigrin, Chief Information Officer for MaineHealth. “We are grateful to Senator King and his co-sponsors for taking action through this bill to leverage existing federal resources in training and planning to protect our critical health care infrastructure.”

“This bill would pave the way for increased effectiveness and efficiency in automated cyber threat information sharing and help the healthcare sector deal with a major cyber workforce shortage,” said Peter Wright, Senior Vice President of Central Maine Healthcare “The current situation challenges our ability to effectively defend against the daily barrage of cyber-attacks we face. We see this as a natural partnership on this common national security and public health and safety threat.”

The bipartisan Healthcare Cybersecurity Act would increase information sharing and improve cybersecurity in the Healthcare and Public Health Sector. The bill:

  • Directs the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to collaborate on improving cybersecurity
  • Requires CISA to coordinate with all relevant non-Federal entities in the Healthcare and Public Health Sector and share information relating to cyberthreats and defensive measures.
  • Authorizes CISA and HHS to provide cybersecurity trainings to the Healthcare and Public Health Sector.
  • Requires CISA and HHS to update the Healthcare and Public Health Sector-Specific Plan to include analysis of how cybersecurity risks specifically impacts the critical sector.

As Co-Chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC), and a member of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, Senator King is recognized as one of Congress’ leading experts on cyberdefense and is a strong advocate for a forward-thinking cyberstrategy that emphasizes layered cyberdeterrence. Since it officially launched in April 2019dozens of CSC recommendations have been enacted into law, including the creation of a National Cyber Director.

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