There's no 'easy button': Scripps CEO updates patients on ransomware attack recovery 

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Scripps Health President and CEO Chris Van Gorder sent a letter to patients May 24 sharing updates on the recent ransomware attack that struck the San Diego-based system as well as more details on its recovery and response.  

Seven updates: 

1. In the update, shared with Becker's Hospital Review, Mr. Van Gorder explained that Scripps is limited in the amount of information it can share with patients because it could put the system "at an increased risk of coming under further attack, and of not being able to restore [its] systems safely and as quickly as possible." 

2. Mr. Van Gorder stated: "This is not hypothetical. Other attackers are already using what is being reported in the media to send scam communications to our organization." 

3. Scripps experienced the cyberattack May 1 when malware was placed in its information system, prompting the health system to suspend access to a "significant portion of its network," Mr. Van Gorder said May 10. Scripps tweeted May 20 that it had restored most of the features on its website, but the system's patient portal was still down. 

4. In the May 24 update, Mr. Van Gorder confirmed that the incident involved ransomware. The health system and federal law enforcement are still investigating the attack, he stated, and while Scripps has backups in place to support its restoration efforts, "there is no 'easy button.'"

5. Scripps expects its EHR to be back online this week, including its online patient portal, according to the update. The health system said it has regained access to patients' electronic medical histories. 

6. Scripps' four hospitals, emergency departments, urgent care centers, clinics and affiliated practices are open and seeing patients, and the system has been contacting patients directly if scheduled surgeries or appointments need to be rescheduled. Virtual visits still are taking place.

7. Scripps said it is unsure whether patient data was affected. The health system said it will send notifications to affected individuals if their data was exposed once the investigation ends.

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