Ransom attack forces multiple US hospitals to suspend services in northeast
Dozens of hospitals and healthcare facilities across multiple states were forced to shut down emergency rooms and suspend services due to a ransomware attack on the facilities' parent company, California-based Prospect Medical Holdings (PMH). The FBI is now involved.
The “data security incident” began sometime on Thursday, according to local media reports, forcing some hospitals to even revert to using paper records.
“Upon learning of this, we took our systems offline to protect them and launched an investigation with the help of third-party cybersecurity specialists,” PMH said in a statement Friday.
“While our investigation continues, we are focused on addressing the pressing needs of our patients as we work diligently to return to normal operations as quickly as possible.” the company said.
Prospect Medical Holdings own and operate 17 hospitals and a network of more than 165 outpatient facilities and clinics across five states; Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Southern California, according to its website.
The PMH attack has forced two Connecticut hospital systems to suspend operations and divert patients to other facilities, causing the FBI in Connecticut to step in and investigate.
“The New Haven Field Office of the FBI is involved in an ongoing cyber ransomware investigation of some local medical facilities. We are working closely with law enforcement partners and the victim entities to address the issues,” said Special Agent In Charge Robert Fuller in a statement Friday.
“At this time, there is no further information we can share as this is an ongoing investigation. If and when information can be shared we will do so,” Agent Fuller stated.
Manchester Memorial Hospital, Rockville General Hospital, and Waterbury Hospital, under the Eastern Connecticut Healthcare Network, have all reported disruptions to services.
Listing a number of forced closings, Waterbury Hospital put out a statement on its Facebook page that they are “working closely with IT experts” to resolve the outage “as quickly as possible.”
“Our computer systems are down with the outage affecting all Waterbury HEALTH inpatient and outpatient operations,” it said.
“Waterbury Hospital is following downtime procedures, including the use of paper records, until this is resolved. Patient visitation is not affected,” it stated.
PMH’s Eastern Connecticut Healthcare Network (ECHN) announced the closure of at least nine other healthcare facilities Friday “until further notice,” including an urgent care and surgery center.
“All Prospect Medical Holdings facilities are experiencing IT complications impacting some ECHN locations and services,” the network posted on its home page.
ECHN patients are being contacted individually, according to the website.
Meantime, in Pennsylvania, the ransomware attacks caused network systems to go down at Crozer Health, a large healthcare conglomerate located in PA's Delaware County, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Friday.
One of the hospitals reported to have been offline, the Delaware County Memorial Hospital, states it is temporarily closed on its website.
Other hospitals that have been affected by the attack include the Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland, Taylor Hospital in Ridley Park, and Springfield Hospital, the newspaper reported.
Besides the four hospitals, there are seven other outpatient and surgery centers listed as part of the Crozer Health network, but no word if they have also suspended operations at the time of this report.
It’s also not clear if any of the hospitals owned by PHM in California have been impacted at this time, as well as those in Rhode Island and New Jersey.
No ransomware group has stepped forward to claim responsibility for the attack so far. Cybernews will follow the story.
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