A computer virus believed to be the worker of hackers continued to plague Appalachian Regional Healthcare hospitals and clinics in Whitesburg and elsewhere in Kentucky and West Virginia on Tuesday.
“ARH continues to work with authorities and computer experts to address the problems and restore our systems to operational capacity as quickly as possible,” ARH spokeswoman Melissa Cornett in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. “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.”
Federal authorities continue to investigate after the computer virus infected all electronic services of the ARH system.
The system of hospitals in Kentucky and West Virginia is operating under the Emergency Operations Plan because of a computer virus virus “that has limited our use of electronic web-based services and electronic communications,” Cornett said.
All ARH computers have been shut down to prevent the virus from spreading. It’s unclear where the virus came from.
All patient-care, registration, medication, imaging and laboratory services are being managed manually. Critical patients may be transferred to another facility.
Patients visiting a physician practice are still being asked to bring all prescribed medications to upcoming appointments until further notice.
The emergency departments are continuing to accept patients.
“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 healthcare to our patients while we recover from this cyberattack,” said Cornett. “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.”