Apparent cyberattack forces Florida hospital system to divert some emergency patients to other facilities


An obvious cyberattack has pressured a community of Florida well being care organizations to ship some emergency sufferers to different services and to cancel some non-emergency surgical procedures, the well being care community stated Friday.

Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, which operates a 772-bed hospital and a number of specialty care facilities, stated an “IT safety challenge” late Thursday night time pressured it to take down its laptop system.

“We’re additionally diverting EMS [emergency medical services] sufferers and can solely be accepting Stage 1 traumas from our instant service space,” the hospital system stated in a assertion. Stage 1 trauma refers back to the most acute accidents and diseases.

Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare spokesperson Tori Lynn Schneider advised CNN “some” emergency sufferers have been being diverted to services outdoors of the group’s community, however declined to say what number of sufferers. All non-emergency and elective procedures scheduled for Monday have been canceled due to the hacking incident, Schneider stated.

It’s the newest in a collection of cyberattacks which have continued to hit resource-strapped US well being care suppliers within the almost three years of the Covid-19 pandemic. In one other case, hackers accessed the non-public information of almost 270,000 sufferers in an tried ransomware assault on a Louisiana well being care system in October.

The FBI final month shut down the pc infrastructure utilized by a infamous ransomware gang to assault a number of US hospitals, based on the bureau. However the risk stays as a number of ransomware teams are identified to focus on the well being sector.

It’s unclear who was liable for the obvious hack of Tallahassee Memorial. Tallahassee Memorial didn’t specify whether or not it had suffered a ransomware assault, however the group’s assertion described exercise, together with the necessity to shut down laptop networks, in keeping with a ransomware assault.

Workers have been unable to entry digital affected person data and lab outcomes due to the shutdown, a hospital supply advised CNN.

Mark O’Bryant, Tallahassee Memorial’s CEO, notified employees in individual Friday morning that the system had suffered a “cyberattack,” based on the supply.

“To assist us include the problem, please fully flip off all PCs related to TMH’s community instantly and go away them off till notified in any other case,” Tallahassee Memorial management stated in a memo despatched to workers Friday morning and obtained by CNN.

Max Henderson, a Tallahassee native and cybersecurity specialist who focuses on well being care, stated the results of a shutting down a hospital’s laptop community can final for weeks or months.

“Speedy, unplanned shutdowns can result in a lack of not too long ago gathered information concerning prognosis, medical notes, shift handovers and different numerous setbacks for the medical employees,” Henderson, who’s senior supervisor for incident response at safety agency Pondurance, advised CNN.

“Practically all hospitals rely on the web for connectivity with distributors and distant workplaces for processing info in crucial departments resembling radiology, pharmacy, medical gadget upkeep, affected person doc scanning and cost processing,” Henderson added.