SMC plans for peak of COVID-19 infection

Stillwater Medical Center

Patients at Stillwater Medical Center and its associated clinics have had medical appointments canceled after an unspecified incident affected SMC systems.

A News Press reader said her appointment scheduled for Monday had been cancelled as SMC cited a "systemwide computer failure" over the weekend.

Multiple patients of Stillwater Medical told the News Press they had received calls canceling appointments because patient records and charts were not accessible.

At least one said the person who contacted her characterized it as “a hack” and told her they hoped to be able to call her to reschedule by the end of the week.

Some also reported having trouble reaching their medical providers by phone.

SMC released a statement Monday acknowledging it had “identified an incident that affected access to some of our systems.”

Early in the day, SMC Director of Public Relations Shyla Eggers told the News Press she was unsure it the problem was related to a malware attack, because information was limited at the time.

In a post on social media SMC wrote, "after discovering the incident, we immediately took steps to ensure the security of our environment, launched an investigation with the assistance of a computer forensic firm, and notified law enforcement."

It also made a separate Facebook Post saying SMC facilities were experiencing major phone issues at all locations.

Traffic over the police scanner on Sunday indicated calls were being diverted from SMC.

Those diversions may have been related to the computer problems, Eggers said. But patients are no longer being diverted from SMC.

"We are currently working diligently to bring systems back online as quickly as possible," she said in a statement sent to the News Press and released on social media. "As we work to complete the ongoing investigation, our patients will continue to be our highest priority and as always we will look for opportunities to further enhance our existing security measures."

The investigation is in its early stages but there is no evidence that patient data was compromised, Eggers said.

SMC remains operational and continues to provide patient care, she told the News Press Monday afternoon.

Eggers said she would not have any more information to share until the investigation is complete and hospital administration understands the full scope of the incident.

Twitter: @mcharlesNP

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