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US: Cyber attacks disrupt hospitals, health care services in multiple states

A widespread cyberattack has sent shockwaves through hospital computer systems in various states across the US.

Edited By : Mayank Kasyap | Updated: Aug 5, 2023 07:04 IST
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US Healthcare Cyberattak
Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo Credit: Pexels)

Washington DC: A widespread cyberattack has sent shockwaves through hospital computer systems in various states across the US, causing significant disruptions in healthcare services. The attack, categorized as a “data security incident,” commenced on Thursday, affecting medical facilities operated by Prospect Medical Holdings. The California-based organization runs hospitals and clinics in Texas, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania.

Swift action to safeguard systems

As news of the cyberattack broke, Prospect Medical Holdings took swift action to safeguard its systems, promptly taking them offline and launching an investigation with the aid of third-party cybersecurity specialists. The company’s focus has been on patient care during this crisis, with a commitment to restoring normal operations as quickly as possible.

Connecticut’s critical hit

In Connecticut, the impact was felt most acutely, with the emergency departments at Manchester Memorial and Rockville General hospitals remaining closed for a significant portion of Thursday. Patients seeking emergency care were diverted to other nearby medical centers. The Eastern Connecticut Health Network, responsible for overseeing these facilities, has a dedicated team working to assess the full extent of the attack’s effects.

Law enforcement agencies, including the FBI in Connecticut, are actively collaborating with the affected entities in their efforts to combat the cyberattack. However, due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, specific details have not been disclosed at this time.

The repercussions of the attack extended beyond emergency services, affecting elective surgeries, outpatient appointments, blood drives, and other vital services. While emergency departments eventually resumed operations late on Thursday, numerous primary care services remained closed on Friday. The Eastern Connecticut Health Network has been contacting patients individually to manage the situation effectively.

Disruptions in other states

Similar disruptions were reported across Prospect Medical Holdings’ facilities in different states. In Pennsylvania, services at various medical centers, including Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Taylor Hospital, Delaware County Memorial Hospital, and Springfield Hospital, were affected. The situation led to downtime procedures being implemented, with paper records being used until the issue is resolved. Close collaboration with IT security experts is underway to expedite the resolution process.

In California, the impact has been felt across seven hospitals in Los Angeles and Orange counties, including behavioral health facilities and a 130-bed acute care hospital in Los Angeles. Although representatives for these hospitals have yet to respond to queries, it is evident that Prospect’s reach extends to diverse regions.

 

First published on: Aug 05, 2023 06:41 AM IST

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