Scripps CEO addresses malware attack in memo to staff: 7 things to know

Scripps Health CEO Chris Van Gorder thanked all employees and physicians of the San Diego-based health system May 10 in an internal memo addressing the May 1 cyberattack that forced the hospital to shut down its IT systems. 

Seven things to know: 

1. Scripps experienced a cyberattack May 1 when malware was placed on its information system. The incident prompted the health system to suspend access to a "significant portion of [its] network," Mr. Van Gorder wrote in the May 10 memo shared with Becker's Hospital Review

2. Addressing the staff's resilience providing care during the pandemic, Mr. Van Gorder thanked employees for their continued support: "I’ve been asked how much more you can all take on top of what you have already done over the past 15 months and more," he wrote. "My answer is Scripps will always do what is necessary to care for our patients first so that means we will do whatever it takes to do so – and you are. Using our manual systems for a couple of hours is one thing – it’s another altogether to do it for days – but you are." 

3. Scripps is working with outside consultants and experts 24/7 to assist in its investigation of the cybersecurity incident, according to the memo. 

4. Mr. Van Gorder wrote that his and Scripps' philosophy has been to be open and transparent, but he explained that the cybersecurity incident "is a different kind of situation which limits what and when I can say things." 

5. The malware attack targeted Scripps' information systems, but the health system has no reason to believe that any individual data incidents affecting employees, physicians or patients are related to the current incident, he wrote. 

6. The health system had a number of safeguards in place to prevent the incident from happening but is focused on strengthening those measures and working with the government to provide more help for private organizations working to combat cyberthreats in healthcare. 

7. Mr. Van Gorder said Scripps will apply the incident as a learning experience, telling staff that "we will get through this together and become a resource for those organizations that will be impacted by situations like this in the future, because as we contain one virus in our country, it appears we have another to confront as a society."


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