Proos: Bill would help keep health care information secure

Published 9:06 am Thursday, January 30, 2014

Our state is leading the effort to protect people from security breaches, yet the breach of personal and financial data at Target during the holidays is an example of how these attacks still pose a real and ongoing threat to key information.

Michigan Healthcare Cybersecurity Council Chair Doug Copley recently told members of the Senate Energy and Technology Committee that threats to health care organizations and to patient data continue to be challenges, and that more than 90 percent of organizations reported at least one breach, according to a 2012 study.

Southwest Michigan residents rightfully expect that their health care information is protected and secure. That is why I have sponsored new legislation designed to protect the privacy and security of the health care information of Michigan residents.

Under the federal Affordable Care Act, “navigators” are the professionals charged with aiding individuals in enrollment in the program. My bill would ensure that background checks are done on all navigators by the Department of Insurance and Financial Services.

I am concerned about health care information — that people believe is safe — being taken by unscrupulous people working within the system.

These navigators will have access to a great deal of data concerning the health care of millions of families. My measure is a common-sense effort to put in place another layer of protection of this vital and personal information.

It is also important that residents know about the risks of cyber criminals trying to steal their identity and cash through online and email scams and attacks.

The majority of current cyberattacks seek to uncover individuals’ personal and financial data, which can then be sold to third parties.

In this fight, knowledge of the threat and how to reduce your risk is half of the battle.

Residents may learn more about how to protect themselves and Michigan’s cyber security efforts by visiting


Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, represents the 21st District, which includes Berrien and Cass counties and most of Van Buren County.