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Ransomware attacks force Oklahoma hospitals to divert emergency room patients

Hillcrest Medical Center

Oklahoma is among six states experiencing a temporary disruption to some hospital services after a ransomware attack against Ardent Health Services, a health care company based in Nashville.

Ardent operates 30 hospitals, including those under Oklahoma's Hillcrest HealthCare System. It's investigating a ransomware attack it experienced on Nov. 23, and, according to a news release, it’s taken its network offline.

Ardent has suspended user access to its information technology applications, which include things like software that documents patient care. A spokesperson from Hillcrest told StateImpact it’s responding to the attacks like other hospitals under Ardent by rescheduling non-emergency procedures and diverting some emergency room patients to other area hospitals until systems return online.

Hillcrest’s MyChart App is down, which helps patients communicate with their care team and review medical information. On-demand video visits, which provide virtual urgent care services, are also not available.

The following Oklahoma facilities were impacted:

  • Hillcrest Medical Center
  • Hillcrest Hospital South
  • Hillcrest Hospital Claremore
  • Hillcrest Hospital Cushing 
  • Hillcrest Hospital Henryetta 
  • Hillcrest Hospital Pryor
  • Bailey Medical Center
  • Oklahoma Heart Institute
  • Utica Park Clinic
  • Tulsa Spine and Specialty Hospital

Ardent can’t confirm the extent of compromised patient health or financial data, but the event has been reported to law enforcement, according to the release. Ardent has also retained third-party forensic and threat intelligence advisers.

According to the release, Ardent has implemented additional security protocols and is working with partners to restore operations as quickly as possible. When that might occur is still unknown.

The Hillcrest spokesperson said Oklahomans can contact their providers to see if their care is impacted. Other states affected include Texas, New Jersey, New Mexico, Idaho and Kansas.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Jillian Taylor reports on health and related topics for StateImpact Oklahoma.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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