Health IT Roundup—Cerner impersonator convicted; Lawmakers call for a new VA CIO

Jury convicts man who created fake Cerner business

A federal jury convicted a Texas man who pretended to be a Cerner representative, leveraging the company’s reputation to get one hospital to pay more than $1 million for new medical equipment.

Suresh Mitta, along with Albert Davis, set up fake Cerner businesses, emails, bank accounts and websites, and pretended to be company representatives in order to fraudulently sell an MRI machine to Dallas Medical Center. The pair also falsely testified about their business dealings with the fake Cerner company to secure a $24 million jury award.

Davis has already been sentenced to 12 years in prison and ordered to repay $19 million after pleading guilty to the conspiracy. Release

Lawmakers balk at VA’s CIO appointment

Expressing concern about a pending Department of Veterans Affairs contract with Cerner to overhaul the system’s EHR platform, 11 senators and representatives expressed concern about the VA’s new CIO, Camilo Sandoval.

RELATED: VA Acting CIO Scott Blackburn resigns abruptly weeks after Shulkin’s departure

The former Trump staffer was appointed to replace former VA Acting CIO Scott Blackburn, who left the agency abruptly last month. The lawmakers said the appointment raises “serious data security concerns” given Sandoval’s previous position with the Trump campaign, which contracted with Cambridge Analytica. The letter pointed to a $25 million lawsuit against Sandoval claiming he “slandered, harassed and sexually discriminated against” a campaign employee.

“Mr. Sandoval should be removed from his temporary position as CIO and replaced with a first class leader who is capable of implementing the VA’s EHR modernization and fulfilling the VA’s obligation to our nation’s heroes,” the letter stated. Letter (PDF)

Healthcare organizations purchase cybersecurity solutions blindly

The majority of health IT professionals agree: providers are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to defending against cyberattacks.

A whopping 96% of IT professionals said hackers were outpacing providers, according to an annual survey by Black Book Research. While there are plenty of cybersecurity vendors out there, one-third of hospital executives said they purchased solutions blindly. Only 4% said they have a steering committee to evaluate such purchases. Release