St. Margaret’s Health is the first hospital to cite a cyberattack as a reason for its closure

Pierluigi Paganini June 13, 2023

St. Margaret’s Health in Illinois is partly closing operations at its hospitals due to a 2021 ransomware attack that impacted its payment system.

In February 2021a ransomware attack hit the St. Margaret’s Health in Illinois and forced the organization to shutdown of IT infrastructure at the Spring Valley hospital to contain the threat.

The cyber attack did not impact the Peru branch because it relies on a separate infrastructure

The payment system was taken offline for months, which caused delays in the billing of medical treatments for the patients with a significant economic impact on the healthcare organization.

Suzanne Stahl, the chair of SMP Health, the hospital’s parent organization, explained that the closure of the hospital was planned last year due to multiple factors, including the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

“Due to a number of factors, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the cyberattack on the computer system of St. Margaret’s Health, and a shortage of staff, it has become impossible to sustain our ministry,” Suzanne Stahl said in a video on Facebook.

On June 16, St. Margaret’s Health will close the Peru branch and the Spring Valley facility.

Suzanne Stahl also added that OSF HealthCare intends to purchase the hospital in Peru.

The closure of the hospital will have a dramatic impact on residents, especially those that are receiving medical treatment. The residents will be forced travel more than an hour to reach another hospital with an emergency room. Imagine what can happen in case of an heart attack.

“The hospital closure will have a profound impact on the well-being of our community. This will be a challenging transition for many residents who rely on our hospital for quality healthcare,” said Spring Valley’s mayor, Melanie Malooley-Thompson.

St. Margaret’s Health is the first hospital to cite a cyberattack as a reason for the ceasing of its activity, reported NBC News.

“There are countless examples of small businesses that have gone bankrupt following ransomware attacks as they were unable to restore their systems or afford to pay to get back up and running,” Errol Weiss, the chief security officer for Health-ISAC, a nonprofit group that shares cyberthreat information with hospitals, said in an email. “It’s tragic that we can now count a hospital in this statistic.”

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, hospital)

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