Network issue, veil of secrecy continues at NJ hospital
FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — CentraState Medical Center is still being impacted by an IT network issue that started just after Christmas.
The hospital first reported an "IT security issue" on December 30 that affected some hospital services including the admission of emergency room patients. In a new advisory, the Freehold Township hospital said its emergency department is functioning at near capability and encouraged patients to call 911 for emergencies.
Inpatient procedures are being done as scheduled but some outpatient appointments have been postponed or rescheduled.
A hospital spokeswoman would not disclose why the issue continues to linger, what organization or company is investigating the issue and if any patient information been compromised.
Back to paper and pen
CentraState President and CEO Tom Scott told the professional medical news site HIPAA Journal that the hospital's network issue was due to a cyberattack and systems were isolated to contain the attack. Patient information has been taken manually by staff.
The American Hospital Association before Christmas told its members about warnings from the FBI, National Security Agency and other groups about ransomware and other cyber threats targeting health care systems.
John Riggi, AHA national advisor for cybersecurity and risk, said "foreign cyber gangs and spies" were testing the resiliency of hospitals especially as hospitals again fill up because of the "tripledemic" resulting from increased cases of RSV, flu and COVID-19 cases.
“Our cyber adversaries believe we may pause for the holidays, which may result in their increased targeting of hospitals and health systems as we have seen around past holidays,” Riggi said in a statement. “But our hospitals never close and our network defenders never cease their vigilance.