New York hospital network restores systems after cyberattack

Westchester Medical Center Health Network, a prominent healthcare provider in New York, successfully restored its online systems on Saturday, following a week of disruptions caused by a cyberattack, which led to operational challenges and community concerns, prompting the redirection of ambulances away from affected facilities.

On October 16, the Westchester Medical Center Health Network released a statement addressing the situation, indicating that HealthAlliance Hospital, Margaretville Hospital, and Mountainside Residential Care Center were dealing with a “potential cybersecurity threat and an IT system outage.” During this period, the network’s phone, email, and internet services were rendered inaccessible, causing considerable inconvenience.

Throughout the week, ambulances were diverted from these three facilities, leading to growing frustration among the local community. Many community members sought a detailed explanation, as the initial communication was inadequate.

However, on Saturday evening, Westchester Medical Center Health Network reported that all affected facilities were “fully operational and have resumed admitting patients.” They did not offer specific details regarding the network outage.

The network further conveyed that local emergency medical service (EMS) operators had been notified to resume transporting emergency patients to HealthAlliance Hospital and Margaretville Hospital. An exception was made for emergency stroke patients, who were temporarily taken to other area hospitals. HealthAlliance Hospital and Margaretville Hospital remained open during the EMS diversion, ensuring that walk-in patients received proper treatment and care.

Westchester Medical Center Health Network had taken proactive steps to restore its network, including shutting down all connected IT systems at the three affected facilities on Friday evening. Although the full restoration process is ongoing, they affirmed that they had regained all necessary capabilities to resume normal operations.

In a subsequent update, the hospital network revealed that it had informed the FBI, the New York State Department of Health, and local Ulster and Delaware Counties officials. An investigation into the incident is ongoing and led by a third-party security firm.

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