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Ascension makes restoration progress after ransomware attack | #ransomware | #cybercrime

RACINE COUNTY — Ascension announced Tuesday that it aims to have online health record access restored to its entire system by June 14.

The announcement is a significant step in the health care system’s recovery following initial network interruptions reported May 8. 

Ascension, which has several locations in Racine County, blamed the disruptions on a ransomware attack in a press release Tuesday. 

Ascension did not specify whether it had paid a ransom, but said the attack is under investigation. 

The announcement comes as Ascension’s Electronic Health Record access has been restored in its Florida, Alabama and Austin, Texas, markets, according to the press release. 

“With EHR access restored in several of our largest markets, with the rest expected to come over the course of the week, we are moving out of downtime procedures and closer to normal course operations across our ministry,” Ascension President Eduardo Conrado said. “We are confident we will continue to provide quality care as this process accelerates.”

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The health care system said it is continuing efforts to remedy additional systems beyond its online health records. 

“This is complex process, and it will still take time to complete,” the release said. 

Ascension did not provide an estimated date for a full system recovery. 

However, it did specify that retail, home delivery and specialty pharmacy sites are now open for patients’ prescription needs, and that providers can send prescriptions electronically to pharmacies.  

In Wisconsin, all hospitals, offices and care sites are open and operational, according to Ascension. Doctors, nurses and care teams are utilizing paper-based and manual systems as needed.

Patients should expect some delays as a result of the use of manual documentation systems and are being asked to bring notes regarding symptoms and current medications, including prescription numbers or bottles, to their appointments. 

If an appointment needs to be rescheduled, providers will contact patients. 

Ascension’s Racine County locations include sites on Washington Avenue in Mount Pleasant, Spring Street and Wisconsin Avenue in Racine, and Four Mile Road in Caledonia.

Additional information regarding Ascension’s Wisconsin operations can be found at https://about.ascension.org/cybersecurity-event/regional-pages/wisconsin.

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