Tuesday, May 24, 2022

HR7814 Introduced – Medical Security Grants

Last week, Rep Escobar (D,TX) introduced HR 7814, the Health Care Providers Safety Act of 2022. The bill would amend the Public Health Service Act by adding a new §399V-7, Grants to Health Care Providers to Enhance Security. It would allow HHS to “award grants to health care providers to pay for security services and otherwise enhance the physical and cyber security of their facilities, personnel, and patients to ensure safe access.”

Subsection (b) of the new section would allow “video surveillance camera systems, data privacy enhancements, and structural improvements” as allowable uses of the grant funds. There are no specific cybersecurity uses listed as allowable uses of the funds.

There is no funding authorized in the bill for the grant program.

While Escobar is not a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to which this bill was assigned for consideration, a number of the 92 cosponsors {including Rep Schakowsky (D,IL), Rep Tonko (D,IL), and Rep Clarke (D,NY) for example} are members. This means that there should be sufficient influence to see the bill considered in Committee.

I do not see anything in the bill that would draw organized opposition, but the fact is that there are no Republican cosponsors of the bill, so I suspect that the opposition sees some abortion support aspect to the bill. Perhaps they fear that the funds would go to support abortion clinic security under the current administration. That is what happens when some people see words like “safe access” in legislation. Perhaps if the security grants came from DHS there would not be the same code word reading.

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