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Ransomware Hampers Operations for Public Hospital System

The cyberattack, discovered early Tuesday, continues to prevent DCH System hospitals from accepting new patients, officials say. The incident is one of at least 621 such attacks on government entities this year.

(TNS)  — DCH System hospitals continued operations Wednesday in the wake of a ransomware attack that crippled its computer network.

All but the most critically ill or injured patients were being diverted to hospitals in Birmingham or Mississippi, but staff at the Tuscaloosa, Northport and Fayette hospitals continued to care for existing patients and perform some outpatient procedures.

"The ransomware attack continues to impact our ability to accept new patients," spokesman Brad Fisher said Wednesday afternoon. "We are investigating all options for securely and swiftly restoring our IT system."

The system is one of at least 621 government entities, healthcare service providers, school systems, colleges and universities affected by ransomware attacks this year, according to a report released Tuesday by the cybersecurity firm Emsisoft that examined publicly disclosed incidents across the country. Of those, 491 healthcare providers were targeted.

DCH staff learned of the attack early Tuesday morning.

"We immediately implemented emergency procedures to continue providing safe and patient-centered care," according to a statement on the systetm website. "While the attack has impacted DCH's ability to accept new patients, we are still able to provide critical medical services to those who need it."

"Our staff of local doctors and nurses are responding to the community's urgent needs, and the needs of our existing patients in our hospitals. Rest assured, their needs are met and at this time patients are not being transferred."

Anyone with scheduled procedures or tests is asked to call and confirm their appointment.

©2019 The Tuscaloosa News, Ala. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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