Incident Response, Threat Management, Threat Management

Kentucky hospital reports network outage, care delays amid cyberattack

“Emergency Room Entrance – ER – Hospital” by weiss_paarz_photos is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

A cyberattack struck Taylor Regional Hospital (TRH) earlier this week, which has led to electronic health record downtime procedures and network outages, according to a notice posted on the Kentucky hospital’s website.

All systems are down, including the phone systems, as TRH investigates the security incident and works to safely restore the impacted systems. The phone lines are fully operational for the walk-in clinic, orthopedic group, pediatrics, surgical associates and oncology.

“In the meantime, TRH continues to provide quality care to our patients,” officials said in a statement. “We appreciate the community's patience and understanding, and we apologize for the inconvenience caused by this event.”

Patients are continuing to be seen, but reports show there have been a number of care disruptions. Routine outpatient lab services have been limited to set, reduced hours, while chemo and STAT orders are only being accepted if needed.

All patients must bring in current medications to previously scheduled appointments, along with any written orders for lab services, as clinicians can’t access the online system. TRH is also warning the community to expect longer than normal wait times.

Further, the walk-in clinic for COVID-19 testing has been limited to just two hours and only on a first-come, first-serve basis, with TRH warning that they’ll “test during this time as long as our allocated tests are available. And the clinic can’t schedule testing, as previously communicated.

On social media, patients are warning that outpatient services were canceled after 2PM on Jan. 25. Another individual explained the hospital is unable to process any lab results or fax any provider outside of the TRH network or patient.

All lab copies are being hand-written and clinicians can’t review reference ranges, meaning the hospital can’t consider the results as final as part of its accreditation standards. The social media post also shows TRH clinicians can’t access any labs completed in the computer system prior to being forced into EHR downtime with the attack on Jan. 19.

TRH is continuing to work on a plan moving forward to gain access to the reference lab, offsite fax, and LabCorp, but the downtime “is taking longer than expected.” But those plans won’t “help labs collected prior to this week.” The downtime was clearly unexpected, and services will remain limited until the systems come back online.

Jessica Davis

The voice of healthcare cybersecurity and policy for SC Media, CyberRisk Alliance, driving industry-specific coverage of what matters most to healthcare and continuing to build relationships with industry stakeholders.

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