Incident Response, Ransomware

‘Security issue’ at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital disrupts services

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

East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville is currently facing disruptions to several key care services at its downtown location, including email, after a “security issue,” according to multiple social media posts and a website notice.

The hospital “has been a victim of an information technology security issue” launched in the evening hours of Sunday, March 13, officials said in a statement. “Maintaining the safety and security of our patients and their care is our top priority. We are still able to care for our patients.”

The hospital’s cyber forensics teams are working with outside agencies to minimize possible disruptions, and the “response is active and still ongoing.”

Social media posts show the hospital’s X-ray services were disrupted by the incident. Patients are also urged to call the hospital for any appointments scheduled this week, as their may be changes due to the ongoing situation. Email systems have been down since March 11.

However, the phone systems remain in service.

All East Tennessee Children's Hospital locations and services are open, including urgent care, emergency, and routine pediatric care. The main hospital campus remains open, as well, despite the active, ongoing response to the “IT issue.”

“We have processes to ensure we can safely and effectively care for our patients in these circumstances,” officials said in a statement. “We want our community to know that if a child needs our services, do not delay care as we are able to treat any child who needs our expert care.”

“We would like to thank the community for trusting us with the healthcare of our children and thank our team, whose dedication is unparalleled in this region,” they added. “Thank you for your patience, understanding and partnership. We will provide updated information as it is available.”This is the second major hospital outage brought on by a cyberattack this year. Taylor Regional Hospital has made serious progress in bringing its systems back online after a cyberattack deployed eight weeks ago.

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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