HHS Sec. Burwell's advice to Dr. Tom Price: Prioritize cybersecurity

In her farewell remarks at the National Press Club Monday, HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell warned Republican lawmakers that repealing the ACA could be "a step backwards" for the U.S. healthcare system. She had more pointed advice for nominated HHS Secretary Rep. Tom Price, MD, R-Ga., regarding the issue of cybersecurity.

"This is very important and I would tell my successor it has to be prioritized," she said in response to a question on how to address cyberattacks in the healthcare industry. "People don't want to spend money on it. They don't want to spend time on it. It is extremely important that you put in place the protections as much as you can."

Sec. Burwell urged the next HHS secretary and healthcare organizations more broadly to recognize the legitimate threat that "advanced players," or hackers, pose to their systems.

Large companies like Anthem, Premera Blue Cross and Quest Diagnostics, along with numerous health systems, have already been targeted by such attacks, which have affected the sensitive information of millions of patients.

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