Politics & Policy

Obama’s Crony Politics Leaves Your Health Data Vulnerable to Hacking

(Maxkabakov/Dreamstime)
Democratic donors with a record of getting hacked win fat government software contracts.

It’s the most far-reaching scandal in Washington that no one wants to talk about: Tens of millions of federal employees had their personal information hacked as a result of Obama administration incompetence and political favoritism.

Ethnic community organizer-turned-Office of Personnel Management head Katherine Archuleta recklessly eschewed basic cybersecurity in favor of politically correct “diversity” initiatives during her disastrous crony tenure. This Beltway business as usual created an irresistible opportunity for hackers to reach out and grab massive amounts of sensitive data — compromising everyone from rank-and-file government employees to CIA spies.

Could it get worse? You betcha.

Amid increasing concerns about these massive government computer breaches, the Defense Department is expected to announce the winner of a lucrative high-stakes contract to overhaul the military’s electronic health-records system this week.

The leading finalist among three top contenders is Epic Systems, a Wisconsin-based health-care-software company founded and led by top Obama billionaire donor Judy Faulkner. Thanks in significant part to President Obama’s $19 billion stimulus subsidy program for health-data vendors, Epic is now the dominant electronic-medical-records player in the U.S. health-IT market.

According to Becker’s Hospital Review, CVS Caremark’s retail-clinic chain, MinuteClinic, is now adopting Epic’s system, and “when the transition is complete, about 51 percent of Americans will have an Epic record.” Other major clients include Kaiser Permanente of Oakland, Calif.; Cleveland Clinic; Johns Hopkins Medicine, in Baltimore; Arlington-based Texas Health Resources; Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston; Mount Sinai Health System, in New York City; and Duke University Health System, in Raleigh, N.C.

Just last week, the UCLA Health system run by Epic suffered a cyberattack affecting up to 4.5 million personal and medical records, including Social Security numbers.

As I’ve reported previously, Epic employees donated nearly $1 million to political parties and candidates between 1995 and 2012 — 82 percent of it to Democrats. The company’s top 10 PAC recipients are all Democratic or left-wing outfits, from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (nearly $230,000) to the DNC Services Corporation (nearly $175,000) and the America’s Families First Action Fund Democratic super-PAC ($150,000). Faulkner received a plum appointment to a federal health-IT-policy panel in 2011. Brandon Glenn of Medical Economics noted that “it’s not a coincidence” that Epic’s sales “have been skyrocketing in recent years, up to $1.2 billion in 2011, double what they were four years prior.”

Stunningly, Epic “has the edge” on the gargantuan Pentagon medical-records contract, the Washington Post reported on Monday. This favored status comes despite myriad complaints about the interoperability, usability, and security of Epic’s closed-end proprietary software. Just last week, the UCLA Health system run by Epic suffered a cyberattack affecting up to 4.5 million personal and medical records, including Social Security numbers, Medicare and health-plan identifiers, birthdays, and physical addresses. The university’s CareConnect system spans four hospitals and 150 offices across Southern California.

The university’s top doctors and medical staff market their informatics expertise and consulting services to other Epic customers “to ensure the successful implementation and optimization of your Epic EHR.” Will they be sharing their experience of having to mop up the post-cyberattack mess involving their Epic infrastructure?

UCLA Health acknowledged that the hack forced it to “employ more cybersecurity experts on its internal security team, and to hire an outide cybersecurity firm to guard its network,” according to CNN.

Now another Obama crony is poised to cash in on her cozy ties and take over the mega-overhaul of millions of Pentagon and Veterans Affairs medical records to the tune of at least $11 billion.

Can you say “epic fail”?

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