The Healthcare and Public Health Sector Coordinating Council, whose members include the AHA, yesterday urged President Biden to include support for health care cybersecurity in a future phase of his infrastructure plan.

“The healthcare sector, despite making progress over the past several years, has struggled to keep up with the onslaught of cyber threats without enhanced federal programs and engagement,” the organization wrote. “We are particularly concerned that lesser resourced organizations, such as small and medium sized healthcare providers and critical access hospitals, continue to fall further behind. We are only as strong as the weakest link, and it benefits the entire sector when we can improve every entity's cyber resilience.”

AHA also has urged Congress and the Biden Administration to prioritize investment in broadband, telehealth and cybersecurity to ensure all patients have secure, sustained, equitable access to care using digital and information technologies.

Reuters last week reported that the U.S. Justice Department is elevating the priority of ransomware investigations similar to those of terrorism attacks following a May 7 attack on the Colonial Pipeline and damage to other sectors. The department this week announced it had seized $2.3 million in bitcoin proceeds allegedly from the attack.

“The AHA has been leading a call to the government to pursue a coordinated campaign to disrupt these criminal organizations and seize their illegal proceeds, as was done so effectively during the global fight against terrorism,” said John Riggi, AHA senior advisor for cybersecurity and risk. “We have good reason to believe that our persistent advocacy and expert point of view on this issue helped influence this policy change.”

For further information on these or other cybersecurity and risk topics, contact Riggi at jriggi@aha.org.

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