Alabama health system resumes services after week-long computer outage

Tuscaloosa, Ala.-based DCH Health System restored services Oct. 10 and lifted its diversion protocol for its three hospitals after being hit by a ransomware attack earlier in the month.

The cyberattack forced the hospital to divert patients and perform downtime procedures between Oct. 1 and Oct. 9. During that time, clinicians used paper-based charting and ordering because the computer systems were encrypted.

Information technology staff at the health system continue to restore certain nonessential systems, including email. It is unclear when all the systems will be fully optimized.

DCH Health System paid the hackers an undisclosed ransom Oct. 5. With the encryption codes, health system staff worked methodically to recover its systems. After completing the payment, the health system completed a test decryption and decrypted thousands of computer devices within its network.

"We sincerely apologize for the frustration and inconvenience this incident has caused, especially to our patients and dedicated staff. DCH greatly appreciates everyone's continued patience and support," the health system said in a statement.

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