The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight and investigations subcommittee today heard testimony from Department of Health and Human Services and Government Accountability Office officials in the closed portion of a hearing called to examine GAO audits of HHS cybersecurity programs.

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Federal agencies might not meet the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) data center closure goals, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. Based on current projections, only 7,221 of the 12,062 data centers that agencies reported in August 2017 will be closed by September of this year.

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Health

The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) awarded the $207 million Next Generation Information Technology Services (NGITS) Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA). Featuring six prime contract holders, this agreement will support a wide range of IT services, including end-of-life support for outdated technology, implementation of new technologies, and customer support initiatives.

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Bruce Greenstein, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) CTO knows Feds need help combating the Opioid crisis. That’s why HHS convened the Opioid Symposium last week at the Hubert H. Humphrey Building, bringing Federal, state and industry players together to brainstorm on one of the nation’s toughest issues. Fourteen sessions later, and sharing data, innovating, communicating, and remembering the human impacts emerged as the key takeaways.

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) need to more fully align its antifraud efforts with the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) Fraud Risk Framework, GAO auditors said in a report released Dec. 5. CMS’s anti-fraud programs currently align only partially with the risk framework, GAO’s investigation revealed.

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The Department of Health and Human Services is looking for ways to combat stovepiped systems by using shared services across the agency for data management. “For us, data is front and center,” said Ed Simcox, deputy chief technology officer at HHS.

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Product managers at the U.S. Digital Service said that policy and operations teams should work together at Federal agencies to ensure that new technologies affect users in the way that policies intend. Natalie Kates, product manager at USDS, is working with Health and Human Service’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on building the Quality Payment Program website.

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The Department of Health and Human Services is distilling cyber threat intelligence for a health care audience, according to HHS CISO Chris Wlaschin, who spoke at an Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology Briefing on Sept. 26. He said the Healthcare Cybersecurity Communications and Integration Center is not meant “to replace current capabilities or functionality or services provided by” the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity Communications and Integration Center.

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health

Reps. Greg Walden, R-Ore., and Tim Murphy, R-Pa., sent a letter requesting that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) attend a briefing with the Energy and Commerce committee on pharmaceutical companies affected by malware, such as the recent NotPetya malware’s impact on pharmaceutical company Merck.

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The Department of Health and Human Services recently named Bruce D. Greenstein as its new chief technology officer.

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Citing the WannaCry ransomware attacks, members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee brought up concerns with Health and Human Services officials that a similar attack could cause severe damage to U.S. health systems.

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Many Federal agencies oversee vast amounts of big data, from medical records to socioeconomic information. Seventy percent to 80 percent of data analytics work is preparing the data for its specific purpose, according to Adam Wilson, CEO of Trifacta, who spoke at Cloudera’s Government Forum on April 25.

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Major innovations in blockchain are likely to happen this year with the help of Federal agencies, industry experts say, even though health care applications for the technology have yet to reach mass markets.

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Leo F. Scanlon, deputy chief information security officer for Health and Human Services and the agency’s senior cybersecurity adviser for the health care sector, was named the co-chair of the (ISC)2 U.S. Government Advisory Council.

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In order to better provide opioid users with ready access to life-saving medication in the case of an overdose, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it would be hosting a 2016 Naloxone App Competition.

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A Government Accountability Office study uncovered a huge discrepancy in Federal reporting on sexual violence because the agencies that collect the data don’t record or label incidents the same way. According to data collection efforts from four Federal agencies, between 244,190 and 1,929,000 rapes or sexual assaults occurred in 2011.

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Partnerships between private companies and government agencies sometimes require more patience than young startups have, according to Rocky DeStefano, cybersecurity subject matter expert for Cloudera. DeStefano will participate in a panel discussion at MeriTalk’s Cyber Security Brainstorm on Sept. 13.

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Over the past 10 years, agencies have made minimal use of their special government employees who do not serve on Federal boards, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report. However, the report also states that not all of these SGEs’ assignments have been reliably documented.

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The Department of Health and Human Services announced that Vindell Washington will take over as head of HHS’s hub for all things health IT–the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC)–according to an internal memo issued by HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell.

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