WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation to help secure the networks of rural hospitals which are frequently targeted by cyber-attacks. The legislation would require the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to develop a workforce strategy dedicated to rural hospitals and to provide resources to help secure their vulnerable networks.
“Ransomware attacks against hospitals and health care systems that compromise sensitive medical information and disrupt patient care must be stopped. Unfortunately, small and rural hospitals often lack the resources to invest in cybersecurity defenses and staff to prevent these breaches,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan legislation will require the federal government to ensure our most vulnerable health care providers have the necessary tools to protect patient information and provide lifesaving care even as criminal hackers continue to target their networks.”
Rural hospitals often lack the resources and staff needed to secure their systems from cyber-attacks. Network breaches on these health care providers have the potential to compromise sensitive medical information and even disrupt patient care. Peters’ Rural Hospital Cybersecurity Enhancement Act would require the CISA Director to develop a comprehensive rural hospital cybersecurity workforce development strategy that considers public-private partnerships, development of curricula and training resources, and policy recommendations. It also requires CISA to make cybersecurity training resources available to rural hospital systems.
As Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Peters has led efforts to ensure our nation is better prepared to defend against cyber-attacks. His historic, bipartisan provision to require critical infrastructure owners and operators to report to CISA if they experience a substantial cyber-attack or if they make a ransomware payment was signed into law. Peters’ bipartisan bill to enhance cybersecurity assistance to K-12 educational institutions across the country was also signed into law. Peters’ bipartisan bills to bolster cybersecurity for state and local governments, strengthen the federal cybersecurity workforce, and help secure federal information technology supply chains have been signed into law.