McDOWELL – Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) is the latest victim of what may be a cyber hack or possibly a ransomware attack. Federal authorities have gotten involved and are investigating a computer virus affecting Kentucky and West Virginia ARH Hospitals. McDowell ARH in Floyd County was one of the hospitals affected.
On Saturday, August 27, ARH Spokesperson Melissa Cornett released a statement saying hospital officials were dealing with the technical difficulties as quickly as possible and due to a computer virus, all ARH computers had been shut down to prevent further spread of the virus. Staff is currently managing all paperwork by hand. Hospital officials ask anyone seeking treatment at an ARH facility to bring all prescribed medications to upcoming appointments until further notice.
Staff and administration at all ARH facilities affected are conducting business as usual while operating under the Emergency Operations Plan, which according to Cornett, gave the hospital “limited use of electronic web-based services and electronic communications.”
Law enforcement officials say they are aware of a cyber breach at ARH. As of Wednesday, the investigation was ongoing.
Cornett released the following statement on behalf of Appalachian Regional Healthcare:
“ARH continues to work with authorities and computer experts to address the problems and restore our systems to operational capacity as quickly as possible. In the meantime, ARH would like to emphasize that we presently have no reason to believe that the protected health information or any financial information of our patients or employees has been accessed. Please be assured that ARH will investigate this fully, and will take prompt action to notify and protect patients and employees if it appears that their private information has been accessed. ARH’s hospitals and other locations of care across eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia remain open, and our staff is working hard to continue to provide the same level of quality of healthcare to our patients while we recover from this cyber-attack. We appreciate the extra efforts of our outstanding workforce, and the patience of the people we serve, as we work through the inconvenience of having computer systems out of service.”
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at (606) 886-8506.