Memorial Health System experiences ransomware attack

Emergency Medicine Physician Dan Breece, left, and Memorial Health System President and CEO Scott Cantley hold a press conference about the recent cybersecurity attack. (Photo by Amy Phelps)

MARIETTA — In the early hours of Sunday morning, Memorial Health System experienced an information technology security incident.

“IT noticed irregularities in the data system,” said Memorial Health System President and CEO Scott Cantley at a press conference. “Security protocols call for the shut down of our Information Technology system.”

Memorial Health System is working with security partners, including the FBI and Homeland Security, to restore information operations as quickly as possible, he said. The irregularities were part of a ransomware attack, much like what happened recently with the Colonial Pipeline cybersecurity attack.

“We are really pleased with the help from the government agencies,” he said. “Hopefully within in the next 24-48 hours, they will be able to tell us what we need to know about who hacked us.”

Cantley stressed there has not been any indication so far that patient records were hacked.

“At this time no known patient or employee personal or financial information has been compromised,” he said. “We are continuing to work with IT security experts to methodically investigate to precisely understand what happened, and are taking the appropriate actions to resolve any and all issues.”

“Our first concern is the safety of our patients,” said Cantley. “Our informational tools are an essential part (of treatment.)”

He said the staff drills for emergency situations, including such as what is happening now.

“We are working with emergency backup systems and modifying some of the things we do. We will continue to provide exceptional care to our community.

Maintaining the safety and security of our patients and their care is our top priority and we are doing everything possible to minimize disruption. Staff at our hospitals — Marietta Memorial, Selby and Sistersville General Hospital — are working with paper charts while systems are restored and data recovered.”

This will mean temporary disruptions to certain aspects of clinical and financial operations. All urgent surgical cases for today have been canceled, as well as radiology exams and patients have been notified.

All primary care appointments will be held as scheduled. If patients have an appointment with a surgeon or specialist today, it is suggested they call ahead. If for any reason doctors feel a visit would best be rescheduled, they will reach out to patients directly.

Memorial Health System Emergency Departments are on diversion, but will continue to accept STEMI, stroke and trauma patients at Marietta Memorial Hospital campus. Belpre, Selby and Sistersville campuses are on diversion for all non-trauma patients. This diversion will be ongoing until IT systems are restored.

Cantley said Memorial Health System will continue to update the public on how soon their systems will all be back up.

Amy Phelps can be reached at aphelps@newsandsentinel.com.


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