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Senator Hassan Highlights Cybersecurity Needs of NH Rural and Smaller Health Care Providers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan today highlighted the cybersecurity needs of rural and smaller health care providers in New Hampshire during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing.

To watch Senator Hassan’s questioning, click here.

Senator Hassan began by discussing a 2021 ransomware attack on Coos County Family Health Services in Berlin.

“I am really concerned, as someone from a small state… about cybersecurity threats to rural or smaller health care providers,” said Senator Hassan. “In 2021 a ransomware attack targeted a small health service in Berlin, NH, forcing the provider to shut down some of its clinics for several days.”

Senator Hassan then asked Kate Pierce, Senior Virtual Information Security Officer at Fortified Health Security, about what the key cybersecurity challenges for rural and smaller health providers are. In response, Pierce shared that administrative staffers at these organizations often don’t have the capacity to focus on cybersecurity.

Senator Hassan later went on to discuss how the Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center (Health-ISAC) is a valuable forum where health care partners can share vital cybersecurity information, such as best practices and emerging threats.

When asked how to facilitate access to the Health-ISAC for rural and smaller health care entities, Greg Garcia, Executive Director for Cyber Security at the Healthcare and Public Health Sector Coordinating Council, recommended subsidies or financial support for smaller systems to get involved.

Senator Hassan is leading bipartisan efforts to strengthen cybersecurity in New Hampshire and across the country. Senator Hassan successfully secured her bipartisan amendment in an annual defense bill to ensure that the National Guard can help state and local governments and businesses improve their cybersecurity. In addition, Senator Hassan worked to pass into law her measure to create a Cybersecurity Coordinator in every state to help federal, state, and local governments, as well as schools, hospitals, and other entities, coordinate and better protect their systems against cyberattacks. Senator Hassan also helped secure a measure in the bipartisan infrastructure law to create and fund a state and local cybersecurity grant program.