How senators are responding to Quest Diagnostic data breach and what it means for healthcare cybersecurity

Senators have begun investigating the Quest Diagnostic and Laboratory Corp. of America vendor data breach that exposed nearly 20 million patients, according to The Hill.

Hackers broke into the two companies’ billing collection provider American Medical Agency. Quest Diagnostic has since notified 11.9 million patients of the data breach and LabCorp has alerted. 7.7 million.

Since the breach was announced this week, a handful of Democratic senators are speaking up about the incident. Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J., asked Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp on June 5 to answer more questions.

In the letter to LabCorp, Mr. Booker and Mr. Menendez said that “this isn’t the first time” the company has “come under scrutiny due to information security concerns,” The Hill reports. The note goes on to say that “the company has both the knowledge and responsibility to heighten information security standards and processes to better protect the patients it serves.”

LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics have until June 14 to respond to the letter.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., also sent a letter to Quest Diagnostics asking questions about the data breach.

Mr. Menendez and other senators are working on legislation to protect patients’ personal information. They are exploring additional ways to secure medical data after cybersecurity incidents.

The Consumer Data Protection Act and Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights has been introduced to Congress. The bill aims to secure patients’ personal data and hold businesses accountable for the security incidents.

A Carbon Black report found that two-thirds of health groups have been targeted by ransomware attacks in the past year, reports The Hill. Additionally, 83 percent of healthcare organizations have reported a spike in cyberattacks in the past year.

The Carbon Black report said the increase in breaches is because of the “goldmine of personal data” that healthcare organizations store. As a solution, the report suggests healthcare providers consider patients’ digital safety.

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