HARRISBURG – In the days leading up to two public hearing scheduled for July 20 and 21, respectively, Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) and Representative Jason Ortitay (R-Washington/Allegheny) discuss a massive data breach impacting 72,000 Pennsylvanians due to a third-party vendor’s failure to secure personal health records.
The senator’s podcast, “Kristin’s Corner,” features the two lawmakers discussing the background of a data breach of Insight Global, the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s third-party vendor tasked with contact tracing for individuals who test positive for COVID-19. In February, a whistleblower informed the department of a data breach within the system; however, it was not made publicly known until a reporter broke the story at the end of April.
Subsequently Ortitay immediately called on the department to terminate the contract with the Georgia-based vendor, and Phillips-Hill attempted to hold a public hearing with the department to get answers on the impact and magnitude of the data breach.
To date, the legislators have not received answers to their questions. On June 22, the Department of Health posted an emergency contract with a Boston-based firm to conduct contact tracing over the next year. The contract is valued at $34 million, $10 million more than the initial contract with Insight Global, despite a sharp decline in coronavirus cases from a year ago, as well as the National Guard taking over the contact tracing program.
Next week, the House State Government Subcommittee on Governmental Operations, chaired by Ortitay, will hold a public hearing to review the state’s emergency procurement process in light of this latest multi-million-dollar contract. The hearing will be held on Tuesday, July 20, at 1 p.m. in Room G-50 of the Irvis Office Building at the state Capitol. The hearing will feature the Department of General Services, Department of Health and other key stakeholders to discuss emergency procurement reforms made in other states. A Democratic lawmaker from Maryland will discuss how the Maryland General Assembly addressed procurement concerns with their Republican governor. The hearing will be streamed live at PAHouseGOP.com.
The Senate Communications and Technology Committee, chaired by Phillips-Hill, will hold a public hearing to review this latest contract with Public Consulting Group on Wednesday, July 21, at 10 a.m. The hearing will be held in the Hearing Room No. 1 of the North Office Building at the state Capitol. The committee confirmed Department of Health Acting Secretary Alison Beam and Executive Deputy Secretary Keara Klinepeter will testify. The hearing will be streamed live on the committee’s website.
Phillips-Hill’s podcast can be found on her website at SenatorKristin.com/podcast. The episode runs approximately 27 minutes.