Systems Remain Down at Health Network After Cyberattack

By Lisa Rathke | November 2, 2020

The University of Vermont Health Network, including six hospitals in Vermont and New York, on Friday was still dealing with a cyberattack that caused significant computer network problems with an official saying they did not know when the systems would be back online.

The network was working with the FBI and the Vermont Department of Public Safety on the investigation into the Wednesday attack and would not say if it was connected to other attacks hitting hospitals.

The University of Vermont Medical Center did half of its normal scheduled surgeries on Friday, hospital president Dr. Stephen Leffler said Friday afternoon. It has about 380 patients in the hospital and has been providing “a full spectrum of care,” he said.

“We have been caring for people without issue,” Leffler said.

The FBI and two federal agencies warned in an alert Wednesday that they had “credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers.” Independent security experts said Thursday that the ransomware, called Ryuk, has already affected at least five U.S. hospitals this week and could potentially affect hundreds more.

The UVM Health Network referred any questions about the investigation to the FBI, which would only confirm on Thursday that it was investigating “a potential cyberattack.”

“I know that our IT teams are making progress but we still have no set time when we believe that we’ll be able to bring our electronic medical record and other systems back online,” Leffler said. He expected it to be days, not weeks, before the system is working and said they had no reason to believe that medical information had been lost.

The hospital does not know when people who recently received COVID-19 tests will get the results, he said.

Republican Gov. Phil Scott said his administration was working with the hospital to ensure patient safety. “There has been no known impact to the state IT system,” he said.

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