Cyberattack puts Porter patient info out of reach

MIDDLEBURY — UVM Health Network, which includes Porter Medical Center in Middlebury, has curtailed some patient services after experiencing a confirmed cyberattack affecting some of its information technology systems last week. Officials said they have implemented well-practiced standby procedures to continue providing safe care, but the attack has caused variable impacts on services at the six hospitals and physicians’ practices in the organization.
“Our IT team is working around-the-clock to restore systems as quickly as possible,” UVMHN officials said in a media release. “While we are making steady progress in that effort, we anticipate it will take some time to return to normal operations. The IT team will work through the weekend to continue this effort.
“Our staff is doing what they do best, and patients are continuing to receive high-level care across the network.”
Officials on Wednesday were reporting that services remained available at Porter Medical Center in Middlebury, though wait times are longer than usual.
One of the bigger issues appears to be that caregivers do not have access to past patient records due to the IT glitches cause by the cyberattack.
Urgent and emergency care centers at Porter are open, and people are encouraged to seek the care they need. 
If you have an appointment at one of the Porter practices, please call 24 hours in advance of your appointment. But officials also asked that patients not call until only one day before the appointment so that offices aren’t overwhelmed by calls.
For security purposes, email is limited at this time, so phone is the best way to reach someone.
Automated text reminders will not be sent in advance of appointments, due to the IT problems, and access to the MyChart Patient Portal is not currently available.
Officials have said they expect normal functioning of the UVMHN computer system to be restored in a week or two.
The FBI is looking into the source of the cyberattack, which has affected other hospitals in the United States. Reports have said that Russian criminals are suspected in the hack.

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