Hospital operator Ascension faces cybersecurity incident

Hospital operator Ascension has reported disruptions to its clinical operations due to a cybersecurity incident.
Business laptop customersAscension has advised business partners to temporarily disconnect from its systems.

Ascension has engaged third-party expert Mandiant to assist in the investigation and remediation process and notified the appropriate authorities.

Mandiant, a part of Google Cloud, offers managed detection and response (MDR) service that helps defend business across a wide array of products and vendors, including endpoint, network, and cloud telemetries, and provides constant, lightning-fast detection, human analysis, and expert response.

“Out of an abundance of caution we are recommending that business partners temporarily suspend the connection to the Ascension environment,” the healthcare network said in a statement.

Ascension said it continues to investigate the situation after detecting unusual activity on its select technology network systems. Access to some systems had been interrupted as the process of assessing the impact and duration of the disruptions continued, Ascension added.

Ascension initiated processes to ensure patient care delivery continues to be safe and minimally impacted, the nonprofit said.

Ascension said patients should bring to their appointment notes on their symptoms and a list of current medications and prescription numbers or the prescription bottles so their care team can call in medication needs to pharmacies.

Systems that are currently unavailable include electronic health records system, MyChart (which enables patients to view their medical records and communicate with their providers), some phone systems, and various systems utilized to order certain tests, procedures and medications, Ascension said.

Due to downtime procedures, several hospitals are on diversion for emergency medical services in order to ensure emergency cases are triaged immediately. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please contact 911 and your local emergency services will bring you to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Ascension, founded as a Catholic nonprofit in 1999, has a network of about 134,000 associates, 35,000 affiliated providers and 140 hospitals, serving 19 states and the District of Columbia.

Earlier this year, UnitedHealth, the largest U.S. health insurer, reported a cyberattack at its technology unit – that caused widespread disruptions in payments to doctors and health facilities.

Baburajan Kizhakedath

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