Ransomware Attacks at Lake Region Healthcare and the University of Vermont Health Network

by | Jan 13, 2021 | Compliance News

Lake Region Healthcare in Fergus Falls, Minnesota is looking into a ransomware attack that was earliest noticed on December 22, 2020. The ransomware attack affected several systems of the healthcare provider resulting in some interruption of regular operations at its facilities in Fergus Falls, Ashby, Battle Lake, and Barnesville. Before the attack happened, the provider had developed and implemented emergency procedures. So, it was able to provide patient care while still investigating the attack and remediating disruption.

Third-party cybersecurity specialists helped with the investigation to find out the extent of the ransomware attack. Even as the investigation is in progress, Lake Region healthcare was able to recover nearly all the systems affected by the ransomware attack and had services running as before, thanks to its alternative systems.

Although data theft is common before deploying the ransomware, there is no evidence that indicates data theft with this attack. The provider continued to offer patient care, however, patients were advised to get in touch with the hospital to affirm their consultations. Other announcements will be given as the investigation moves along and all systems are available online again.

University of Vermont Health Network Ransomware Attack Slows Down EHR Rollout

A ransomware attack on the University of Vermont Health Network in Burlington, VT on October 28, 2020 resulted in a serious disruption.

Though after many weeks the majority of systems are already back online, the attack is still affecting some areas. For instance, a few applications are not yet back online. Some departments experiencing delays include the radiology department. After the attack, the University of Vermont Health Network stated that it was losing revenue in the amount of approximately $1.5 million each day.

Because of the attack, there was also a delay in the intended organization-wide rollout of the subsequent stage of its new Epic EHR system. Supposedly, the new EHR system will replace a patchwork of programs in and between hospitals belonging to the network that are presently not completely incorporated.

In 2020, various healthcare organizations across the world, including the University of Vermont Health Network, encountered great challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic and had further burdened by ransomware attacks. UVM president and CEO John Brumsted, M.D. said that the health network has postponed for 4 to 8 months the implementation of the new EHR system at a number of its inpatient and outpatient centers.

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