CommonSpirit Health confirms ransomware attack

After more than a week of IT outages at CommonSpirit Health hospitals across the country, the Chicago-based system confirmed it has fallen victim to a ransomware attack.

"Patients continue to receive the highest quality of care, and we are providing relevant updates on the ongoing situation to our patients, employees and caregivers," CommonSpirit said in an Oct. 12 statement. "Patient care remains our utmost priority and we apologize for any inconvenience this matter has created."

The ransomware attack has shut down EHRs and canceled appointments and surgeries at CommonSpirit hospitals from Washington to Texas to Tennessee. In one incident, the IT issues may have led a nurse in an already understaffed emergency room in Silverdale, Wash., to call 911 for help, the Kitsap Sun reported Oct. 12. 

CommonSpirit, the nation's second-largest nonprofit hospital chain, said upon discovering the ransomware attack it took steps to protect its systems, including taking certain ones offline, including EHRS. The health system said it is also working with cybersecurity specialists and law enforcement to investigate and respond to the incident and determine "any data impacts."

CommonSpirit said subsidiaries Dignity Health, based in San Francisco, and Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle have had "minimal impacts on operations" by the cyberattack. "For the other parts of our health system that have seen impacts on operations, we are working diligently every day to bring systems online and restore full functionality as quickly and safely as possible," the statement said.

NBC News first reported the incident was a ransomware attack Oct. 7, citing an unnamed source. After an initial statement last week, the health system had been slow to release any more details officially.

A CommonSpirit spokesperson told Becker's the health system did not have any comment beyond the statement.

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