Bill Passes to Better Protect Rural Hospitals from Cyber Attacks

The bill was passed with an amendment specifying that CISA can’t ask for additional funds.

By Mackenna Moralez, Associate Editor

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved the Rural Hospital Cybersecurity Enhancement act. 

According to GovInfoSecurity, the bill directs the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Education to develop a cybersecurity workforce development strategy for rural hospitals and to publish the instructional materials. The bill was passed with an amendment specifying that CISA shouldn’t ask for additional funds to carry out the proposal.  

The hearing included testimony from witnesses that claimed that IT and security staff at rural hospitals are limited and often overworked, GovInfoSecurity reports.   

There are currently over 500 rural hospitals at immediate risk of closure due to financial losses and lack of financial deserves to sustain operations, according to a report by the Center for Healthcare Quality and Price Reform. Nearly every state has at least one rural hospital at immediate risk of closure, while 21 states have 25 percent of more rural hospitals at risk. Meanwhile, the lack of budgets and staff at these facilities limit the ability to adequately secure networks, potentially putting patients’ lives at risk. 

Cybersecurity within the healthcare industry is not viewed to be on the cutting edge. Insufficient funding to invest in the latest capabilities makes it nearly impossible to hire people with the skillset that is required.  

Mackenna Moralez is the associate editor of the facilities market.  

June 28, 2023

Topic Area: Information Technology

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