Senator Carper Stresses the Need for Stronger Cybersecurity Protections in Health Care

Today at the Senate Finance Committee hearing “Hacking America’s Health Care: Assessing the Change Healthcare Cyber Attack and What’s Next,” U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) called attention to the impact on patients nationwide and the role government should play in the aftermath of the cyber attack on Change Healthcare, which is owned and operated by UnitedHealth Group (UHG). During the hearing, Senator Carper heard from UHG CEO Andrew Witty about how the company has handled the widespread consequences of the cyber attack, including the implications for patients in Delaware.

Senator Carper highlighted the negative impacts of the recent cyber attack on Change Healthcare across Delaware:

“It’s clear that Change Healthcare wasn’t prepared for this attack, [and] the lack of basic cybersecurity measures left our healthcare providers and their patients vulnerable to disruptions in care, and sensitive data and personal information [at risk of] being stolen. Like my colleagues, [in Delaware] we’ve heard from providers, we’ve heard from practitioners, and we’ve heard from families and individuals throughout our state who are directly impacted by this attack. One individual who we talked to was unable to receive her insulin prescription for several days because of the significant pharmacy delays. And that’s not acceptable.”

Senator Carper also emphasized the collaborative role that federal government needs to play in the aftermath of a cyber attack:

“There are clearly obligations that [Mr. Witty] and [his] colleagues have. But there’s a role for government, and there’s a role for others to play. This is a shared responsibility. I [recently] quoted Abraham Lincoln: he was asked ‘what is the role of government?’ And [Lincoln] said, ‘the role of government is to do for the people what they cannot do for themselves.’ There’s state government, local government, and federal government; there’s a role for all of us to play.”

A video of Senator Carper’s questions at today’s hearing can be found here.