Massive Cyberattack; Hospitals Disrupted

( – In a massive cyberattack designed to impair our health system, Ascension Health saw “access to some systems” disrupted due to unusual activity detected on specific technology network systems.

One of the nation’s largest healthcare networks, St. Louis-based Ascension Health, operates around 140 hospitals in the U.S.

It also manages pharmacy systems, though it did not confirm if they were affected the attack was believed to be due to a cyber event

Our care teams are trained for these kinds of disruptions and have initiated procedures to ensure patient care delivery continues to be safe and as minimally impacted as possible.” the group said in a statement.

The statement added, “There has been a disruption to clinical operations, and we continue to assess the impact and duration of the disruption.”

Moreover, Ascension is investigating if patients’ sensitive information was compromised.

The group affirmed, “Should we determine that any sensitive information was affected, we will notify and support those individuals in accordance with all relevant regulatory and legal guidelines.”

While the cyberattack had a tangible impact on hospital visits, one patient in Southfield, Michigan, experienced firsthand the chaos it caused.

Zackery Lopez, a cancer patient, reported delays in his treatment as the hospital staff had to manage without computers, which resorted to using traditional charts.

“Right now it is crazy. Nurses are running around. Doctors are running around. There’s no computers whatsoever they can use,” Lopez said.

Furthermore, hospitals and pharmacies have increasingly faced cyberattacks, often by cybercriminals seeking to lock up sensitive information for ransom. Many of these cybercriminals are based in foreign countries, particularly Russia.

Earlier this year, a U.S. health insurance company, UnitedHealth Group, faced a cyberattack believed to be from a foreign “nation-state” actor, which affected its subsidiary, Change Healthcare.

This resulted in some pharmacies being unable to process prescriptions for insurance payments.

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