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Ascension staff petition for safety precautions amid ransomware attack | #ransomware | #cybercrime

More than 100 people have signed a petition circulating among medical staff at Ascension Providence Rochester Hospital seeking a reduction in elective surgeries and non-emergent patient admissions, as well as more training, during the ongoing fallout from a ransomware attack.

Nearly three weeks after the ransomware attack seriously disrupted basic functioning at Ascension’s 140 hospitals nationwide, including 15 in Michigan, doctors and nurses throughout the state have been raising serious concerns about the impact to patient care. They still don’t have access to patients’ medical records. Safety protocols intended to reduce the risk of medication errors have been temporarily removed or disabled. Crucial lab and test results are taking hours or getting lost completely. And elective surgeries and patient transfers are still happening, despite some staff’s concerns.

“We, the members of Local 40 at Ascension Providence Rochester Hospital, are deeply concerned about the current challenges faced by our healthcare professionals due to the cyber hack incident and subsequent lack of access to patients’ electronic medical records,” the petition reads. It’s addressed to Ascension CEO Joseph Impicciche, Michael Wiemann, the president of Ascension Michigan, and other national and local administrators.

“In light of these circumstances, we demand that immediate safety precautions be implemented to ensure the well-being of both our members and the patients under our care … including but not limited to:

1. **Unit Shift Huddles**:

Implement daily unit shift huddles to ensure effective communication, coordination, and information sharing among healthcare professionals regarding patient care, safety protocols, and any emerging issues.

2. **Training Sessions**:

Conduct regular training sessions for staff members to enhance their knowledge and skills in navigating the challenges posed by the ongoing cyber hack incident and operating without access to electronic medical records.

3. **Weekly Progress Reports**: Provide weekly progress reports to update staff members on the status of efforts to resolve the cyber hack incident, restore access to electronic medical records, and address any safety concerns or staffing issues.

4. **4:1 Nurse-to-Patient Ratio**: Maintain a maximum 4:1 nurse-to-patient ratio until the matter is fully resolved to ensure that patients receive the level of care and attention they require, despite the challenges faced by our healthcare professionals.

5. **Reduction in Elective Surgeries & Non-Emergent Admissons**: Temporarily reduce elective surgeries and non-emergent admissions to alleviate the strain on resources and prioritize care for critical patients.

These safety precautions are essential to safeguarding the well-being of both our members and the patients we serve during this challenging time. It is imperative that the hospital administration takes immediate action to address these concerns and prioritize the safety and quality of care for all individuals involved.

We, the undersigned, stand united in demanding these safety precautions be implemented without delay and call upon the hospital administration to prioritize the well-being of both staff and patients throughout this challenging period.”

A spokesperson for Ascension did not respond to the specifics in the petition, but sent a version of the same language the health system posted on its website on May 24:

“Ascension continues to work around the clock with industry-leading cybersecurity experts to safely restore operations across our network. We are hopeful that after the weekend, our patients and clinicians will see progress across our points of care. Many of our vendors and partners have also started the process of reconnecting to our network and resuming services with Ascension, which should help to accelerate our overall recovery.

“Despite the challenges posed by the recent ransomware attack, patient safety continues to be our utmost priority. We are grateful to our dedicated clinicians and care teams who are providing care under challenging circumstances. The compassion and resilience they have displayed throughout this event is truly remarkable and is emblematic of Ascension’s mission to improve the health of the individuals and communities we serve.”

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