Advertisement

UPDATE: Federal authorities investigate computer virus affecting ARH hospitals

(WSAZ)
Published: Aug. 28, 2016 at 7:37 PM EDT
Email this link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
UPDATE 8/30/16

HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Federal authorities are investigating a computer virus affecting Kentucky and West Virginia hospitals in the Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) system.

On Aug. 27, ARH Spokesperson Melissa Cornett released a statement saying they were dealing with technical complications.

Cornett said the ARH system of hospitals in Kentucky and West Virginia are operating under their Emergency Operations Plan due to a computer virus "that has limited our use of electronic web-based services and electronic communications."

On Tuesday, a law enforcement source told CBS News investigators, they are aware of a cyber breach at ARH. CBS News reports the incident appears to be ongoing. When asked whether it was a ransomware case, a situation in which hackers demand money, an FBI spokesman would not comment except to say "they cannot confirm or deny the existence or non-existence of an investigation."

WYMT took a closer look at the uptick in ransomware attacks on hospitals nationwide.

In February, hackers took over computers at a hospital in Los Angeles. The hospital shut down computers for more than one week before officials had to fork over $17,000. A similar situation took place at Methodist Hospital in Henderson, Kentucky. Officials there did not pay any money and were able to restore their hospital's data. Other attacks were reported in the Washington, D.C. - Maryland area.

On Tuesday, Cornett released a statement saying officials do not believe at this time private patient information is compromised:

“ARH continues to work with authorities and computer experts to address the problems and restore our systems to operational capacity as quickly as possible.

"In the meantime, ARH would like to emphasize that we presently have no reason to believe that the protected health information or any financial information of our patients or employees has been accessed. Please be assured that ARH will investigate this fully, and will take prompt action to notify and protect patients and employees if it appears that their private information has been accessed.

ARH’s hospitals and other locations of care across eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia remain open, and our staff is working hard to continue to provide the same level of quality healthcare to our patients while we recover from this cyber attack. We appreciate the extra efforts of our outstanding workforce, and the patience of the people we serve, as we work through the inconvenience of having computer systems out of service.”

Cornett said all ARH computers were shut down to prevent further spread of the virus and all paperwork is being managed manually. She said staff will assess all critical patients to determine if they should be transferred to another facility for care. Officials ask patients visiting a physician practice bring all prescribed medications to upcoming appointments until further notice.


ORIGINAL STORY

HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Federal authorities are investigating a computer virus affecting Kentucky and West Virginia hospitals in the Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) system.

On Saturday, ARH Spokesperson Melissa Cornett released a statement saying they were dealing with technical complications.

Cornett said the ARH system of hospitals in Kentucky and West Virginia are operating under their Emergency Operations Plan due to a computer virus "that has limited our use of electronic web-based services and electronic communications."

Cornett said all ARH computers were shut down to prevent further spread of the virus and all paperwork is being managed manually.

On Sunday, Cornett released another statement saying federal authorities were looking into the situation:

This issue is now being investigated by the proper governmental authorities, in close collaboration with ARH. Since this is an ongoing investigation, we are not at liberty to provide further information or comment at this time.

Cornett told WYMT in the statement Saturday, staff will assess all critical patients to determine if they should be transferred to another facility for care.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and wsaz.com for the latest.

Latest News

Latest News