Weekly The Generation, Year 1, Issue 13
November 28, 2023
A cyber-attack has shut down emergency rooms in at least three states, a hospital operator warned on Monday, forcing the organization to divert patients to other facilities.
Ardent Health, which oversees 30 hospitals in states across the US, including New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma, said it had been targeted by a ransomware attack over the Thanksgiving holiday. The attack had shut down a significant number of its computerized services, the company said in a news release.
“In an abundance of caution, our facilities are rescheduling some non-emergent, elective procedures and diverting some emergency room patients to other area hospitals until systems are back online,” Ardent Health’s release said.
Each of the affected Ardent hospital chains – Hillcrest HealthCare in Oklahoma, Lovelace Health in New Mexico, and UT Health in Texas – said that some of their emergency rooms were transferring patients to other hospitals.
The hospital operator said the cyber-attack has affected computer programs that track patients’ healthcare records, among others.
In its statement, Ardent said the ransomware attack had taken its network offline. The company said it reported the issue to law enforcement as well as retained third-party forensic and threat intelligence advisers.
The targeting of hospitals – and demands for extortion payments – began in 2016, according to the cybersecurity firm Recorded Future. The ransomware analyst Allan Liska told NBC in June that there had been at least 300 documented attacks a year on healthcare facilities since 2020.