Alexander, Murray Urge Anthem to Notify All 78.8 Million Americans Affected in Cyber Attack

Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) are urging insurer Anthem to notify all 78.8 million Americans whose sensitive personal information may have been exposed in a cyber attack discovered in January.

Lamar Alexander
Lamar Alexander

In a letter to Anthem, the committee leaders note that more than a month and a half after a cyber attack identified on Jan. 29, 2015, “more than 50 million Americans … have yet to receive notice directly from Anthem” that their personal information, including addresses, birth dates, employer information, Social Security numbers and email addresses, may have been compromised, exposing them to resulting security threats like identity theft.”

The senators write, “…[T]he highly sensitive nature of this information makes early notification essential, and we are concerned with your slow pace of notification and outreach thus far.  We are writing to formally request that you speed up the pace of notifications, and share with our committee what steps you plan to take in the next few days, to dramatically increase the pace of notification. This slow pace is of particular concern given that many of the individuals whose information has been compromised are not Anthem customers and may still be unaware that their information was contained in the attacked database.”

They continue, “We formally request that you provide a clear action plan that accelerates the current pace of notification and ensures that all affected families receive notification in the upcoming days.  …This is a critical and pressing issue, and while we understand there are many complications given the size and scope of the attack, we look forward to your response by April 1, 2015 on your progress and a clear target for when you will have reached out to every affected individual.”

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Senators Call on HHS to Extend Deadline for Stage 2 of Electronic Health Records Incentive Program

John Thune
John Thune

Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Ranking Member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, were joined today by several of their colleagues in sending a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, calling for a one-year extension for health care providers to complete the second stage of the electronic health records (EHR) incentive program, which is increasing the adoption of health information technology by hospitals and physicians across the country.

Lamar Alexander
Lamar Alexander

According a release, “providers who are ready to attest to Stage 2 in 2014 should be able to do so consistent with current policy, and the senators believe the administration must continue to push for interoperability.”

By the end of 2014, more than 500,000 hospitals and physicians will be required to upgrade their existing technology to demonstrate new standards of “meaningful use” to be eligible for the corresponding incentive payments.

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