A ransomware attack has caused a health care chain, which operates 30 hospitals in six states, to move patients from some of its emergency rooms to other hospitals, while putting certain procedures on pause, the company announced.

According to a statement from Ardent Health Services, the attack happened on November 23. The company said as a result of the attack, it took its network offline and suspended user access to its information technology applications, including the software used to document patient care.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the company says about half of Ardent’s 25 emergency rooms were still operating on “divert,” meaning the hospitals have asked ambulances to take those needing emergency care to other facilities in their areas, Ardent spokesperson Will Roberts told the Associated Press.  

Roberts added that hospitals nationwide also use divert status during flu season, COVID surges, natural disasters or a large trauma event.

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The University of Kansas Health System- St. Francis Campus in Topeka was one of several hospitals in the Ardent Health Services company impacted by a ransomware attack.  (AP Images)

Ardent, which is based in the Nashville, Tennessee, suburb of Brentwood, owns and operates 30 hospitals and more than 200 care sites with over 1,400 aligned providers in Oklahoma, Texas, New Jersey, New Mexico, Idaho and Kansas.

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University of Kansas Health Systems - St. Francis Campus in Topeka

A ransomware attack  the attack put the University of Kansas Health System-St. Francis on divert status.  (AP Images)

In the release, Ardent stated that it reported the issue to law enforcement and retained third-party forensic and threat intelligence advisors, while working with cybersecurity specialists to restore IT functions as quickly as possible. 

Ardent added that it is still determining the full impact of this event, and it is too soon to know how long this will take or what data may be involved in this incident.

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University of Kansas Health Systems - St. Francis campus in Topeka

University of Kansas Health Systems – St. Francis campus was on “divert” status after a ransomware attack hit several hospitals in the Ardent Health Services company.  (AP Images)

Ardent Health Services was not immediately available for comment. 



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