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Update: Memorial Health System says online operations two weeks from returning to normal

Published: Aug. 15, 2021 at 6:53 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 4, 2021 at 3:07 AM EDT
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MARIETTA, Ohio. (WTAP) - The head of Memorial Health System admits the cyber attack that struck its system in mid-August could not have come at a worse time: with hospitalizations everywhere rising due to COVID-19 and the Delta Variant.

“It was additional pressure for our team to deal with; it was additional obstacles,” CEO Scott Cantley said Friday. “But it didn’t stop us from delivering care to the community.”

Cantley estimates it will be another two weeks before the online system will be what it was prior to the attack.

“Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen an additional system come back online. It’s a process, it’s not a light switch.”

The hospital system is tasked not just with restoring online operations, but also to prevent the attack from happening again.

“We’ll, of course, begin the process of ensuring we can prevent this as best we can in the future,” says Cantley. “But right now, it’s about restoring our systems and ensuring the integrity of our patients’ data.”

Cantley urges Memorial patients to reach out to their regular physicians to resume treatments and consultations.

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8/19/2021

Memorial Health System says a return to its normal operations could take a few days.

Hospital CEO Scott Cantley updated the system’s return to normal operations at a Wednesday morning news conference.

“We have reached a negotiated solution and are beginning the process that will restore operations as quickly and as safely as possible. We are following a deliberate, methodical approach to bring systems back online securely and in a manner that prioritizes our ability to provide patient care. This could happen as early as Sunday,” says Cantley.

The hospital has been working with paper records since experiencing a cyber attack Sunday.

“As we conduct our IT remediation work, our security experts have been monitoring and have not noted any indication that any patient or employee data has been publicly released or disclosed,” he said.

Cantley said an investigation by the FBI has linked the attack to an Eastern European organization which has been in existence just this summer.

“Although many of our systems have been down, we have robust processes in place to maintain safe and effective patient care. We are collectively responding in accordance with our well-planned process and policies for this type of event.”

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Original story: 8/15/2021

Memorial Health System experienced a cyber attack during the early morning hours of Sunday, August 15.

Currently, Memorial Health System has suspended user access to all information technology applications related to its operations.

“Our IT department began to notice irregularities in the responses of our infrastructure and began to investigate and over the course of the next couple of hours we began to get concerned,” said Scott Cantley, Memorial Health System President, and CEO.

They have also implemented technology security protocols and are working with security partners, such as the FBI and Homeland Security, to resolve the issue.

Cantley said encrypted files had been downloaded from an external source into the hospital’s database, which caused the hospital’s data to be locked down.

“Through a cyber attack what we’re seeing is what we call ransomware, where your data is encrypted, is unavailable to you and when we notice those types of activities on our system, we immediately shut the system down and begin to explore the underlying activities and that in fact is what we’ve discovered,” Cantley said.

Cantley said non-emergent surgeries and radiology appointments have been canceled and rescheduled for now and patients have been notified.

“We’re still continuing to do imaging and surgery even now but for those non-emergent services we hope it’s only a matter of hours or a couple of days and we’ll be back in normal operation, but it’s just too early for us to tell,” Cantley said.

“So the reason we announced this publicly is so the people understand why they are being called to reschedule tests and procedures.”

No known patient or employee personal or financial information has been compromised.

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