Proos sponsors bill to protect security of health care information

Published 9:37 am Monday, January 27, 2014

LANSING—Sen. John Proos announced new legislation on Friday designed to protect the privacy and security of the health care information of Michigan residents.

“Michigan is leading the effort to protect people from security breaches, yet these attacks pose a real and ongoing threat to sensitive information, such as credit and health care information,” said Proos, vice-chair of the Senate Energy and Technology Committee. “The security breach of customers’ personal and financial data at Target during the holidays is an example of why we cannot be too careful about who we trust to handle this sensitive information.”

Michigan Healthcare Cybersecurity Council Chair Doug Copley recently told senators that threats to health care organizations and to patient data continue to be challenges and that more than 90 percent of organizations reported a least one HIPAA breach according to a 2012 study.

Under the federal Affordable Care Act, “navigators” are the professionals charged with aiding individuals in enrollment in the program.

Proos is introducing legislation that would ensure that background checks are done on all navigators by the Department of Insurance and Financial Services in order to protect the personal health care information of Michigan residents.

“Southwest Michigan residents expect that their health care information is protected and secure,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “These navigators will have access to a great deal of information concerning the health care of millions of families. My bill is a common-sense effort to put in place another layer of protection of this vital and personal information.”

In previous testimony to the committee, it was revealed that the majority of current cyber attacks seek to uncover individuals’ personal and financial data, which can then be sold to third parties. The state’s chief security officer, Dan Lohrmann, reported more than 2.5 million attempted attacks on state web browsers in 2013 alone.

“Residents should know about the risks of cyber criminals trying to steal their identity and cash within online and email scams and attacks,” Proos said. “In this measure, I am primarily concerned about the health care information — that people rightfully believe is safe — being taken by unscrupulous people working within the system.”

For more information about Michigan’s cybersecurity efforts, visit

Residents may learn more about how to protect themselves by visiting the Michigan attorney general’s website at Click on Consumer Protection.