Operations are returning to normal this week at Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) facilities in Kentucky and West Virginia as computerized clinical and electronic communication systems are being brought back online following a cyberattack on the health system’s network late last month.
“Our ARH Information Technology team has spent the past few weeks strategically working through these issues to restore our computer network. We owe it to those we serve to be very thorough in this process, and are taking the time needed to check all computers and be sure all of our systems are safe and functioning properly prior to bringing them back online,” said Maria Braman, MD, ARH Vice President for Medical Affairs. “We appreciate the patience that has been shown by our patients and our staff as our IT team is safely bringing our system back online with tighter security measures in place.”
At this time, all ARH hospitals, home health, retail pharmacies and various clinics are back online.
Dr. Braman said quick response from the ARH IT team resulted in computers being locked down to minimize the spread of the virus throughout ARH’s multi-hospital system. At this time, ARH presently has no reason to believe that the protected health information or any financial information of its patients or employees has been accessed. The cyberattack on the ARH system remains under investigation by federal authorities. ARH is working closely with authorities in that process and has been asked not to discuss specifics surrounding the cyberattack.
“This downtime might have caused us some inconvenience for a few weeks, but it has also further proven the level of care all the hospitals in the ARH system can truly provide,” Dr. Braman said. “The team at ARH is firmly committed to our communities and can rise above any circumstance to put the care of our patients first.”
With computer systems restored at Beckley ARH Hospital since early this week, Beckley ARH Hospital Psychiatrist Ahmed D. Faheem, MD, said despite the challenges the Beckley ARH faced during the downtime, its patients and community continued to show the hospital support.
“BARH is a survivor and has existed here for 60 years through thick and thin,” Dr. Faheem said. “It is a community hospital that has always had great support from the people we serve, and we are confident the community will continue to rally around us and we will move forward together.”
The not-for-profit Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) system. Operating 11 hospitals, multi-specialty physician practices, home health agencies, HomeCare Stores and retail pharmacies across Kentucky and West Virginia, ARH is the largest provider of care and single largest employer in southeastern Kentucky and the third largest private employer in southern West Virginia.