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Dickinson County Healthcare System responds to software security incident

IRON MOUNTIAN, Mich. (WLUC) – An Upper Peninsula hospital is releasing a statement about a software security incident at its facility.

Dickinson County Healthcare System (DCHS) released a statement to TV6 Friday about the ransomware incident, but the hospital won’t say if its I-T security breach is tied to a wave of attacks on health care facilities around the country.

TV6 asked the hospital system if it was tied to those nationwide attacks, but they wouldn’t confirm or deny it.

“We are treating this matter with the highest priority and are responding by using industry best practices while implementing aggressive protection measures,” said Chuck Nelson, Dickinson County Healthcare System Chief Executive Officer. “While we investigate, our top priority is maintaining our high standards for patient care throughout our system.”

DCHS said it will provide further updates as the investigation into the incident is ongoing.

The full statement from DCHS is below.

Dickinson County Healthcare System (DCHS) is in the process of responding to a recent security incident involving malicious software (commonly known in the industry as ransomware) that has disrupted access to computer systems at our hospital and clinics.

Working with third-party computer security and IT security experts, we are remediating the disruption by securing and safely restoring our systems by way of available backup files. We are, on a one-by-one basis, in the process of inspecting, cleaning, restoring, and testing our systems before bringing them back online for use.

Upon discovery of unauthorized access to our IT system on the morning of Saturday, October 17, we took the utmost precautions to shut down the system to isolate the threat. In addition, we engaged third-party computer forensic experts to help us determine the full nature and scope of the event and restore our systems to full, secure operability. Although our investigation is ongoing, at this time, there is no indication that any data was accessed or taken as a result of this incident.

In further response to the incident we implemented our established contingency procedures to provide continuous safe patient care, until our systems are fully back online. Nearly all patient care services, including the hospitals 24/7 emergency department are currently open and operational. While some of our IT systems are down, clinical staff has temporarily shifted operations into manual procedures and are using paper copies in place of digital records to support ongoing services and provide safe care to our patients.

“We are treating this matter with the highest priority and are responding by using industry best practices while implementing aggressive protection measures,” said Chuck Nelson, Dickinson County Healthcare System Chief Executive Officer. “While we investigate, our top priority is maintaining our high standards for patient care throughout our system.”

DCHS is committed to completing a full forensic investigation following resolution of this outage, and will take all appropriate action in response to the findings. Law enforcement has been notified and the sharing of information will continue. As the investigation and recovery carry on, progress updates will be shared.

Copyright 2020 WLUC. All rights reserved.

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