Ransomware attack causes Illinois hospital to close

An Illinois hospital is believed to be the first healthcare facility to close because of a ransomware attack, NBC News reported June 12.

St. Margaret's Health plans to shutter its Spring Valley, Ill., hospital June 16 after the 2021 hack hampered the hospital's ability to submit claims to payers, according to the story. "You're dead in the water," Linda Burt, vice president of quality and community services at the hospital, told the news outlet. "We were down a minimum of 14 weeks. And then you're trying to recover. Nothing went out. No claims. Nothing got entered. So it took months and months and months."

The cyberattack was also partly to blame for the health system's decision to suspend operations at its Peru, Ill., hospital in January. Peoria, Ill.-based OSF HealthCare has said it plans to purchase and reopen that facility.

"There are countless examples of small businesses that have gone bankrupt following ransomware attacks as they were unable to restore their systems or afford to pay to get back up and running," Errol Weiss, chief security officer of government-funded cybersecurity nonprofit Health-ISAC, told NBC News. "It's tragic that we can now count a hospital in this statistic."

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