‘Unauthorized Activity’ Corrupts Garrison Women’s Health Records
🔴 The records of over 4,000 Garrison Women's Health patients from 2022 were found to be corrupted.
🔴 Many of the records were recovered using alternative means, but some were not.
🔴 "Garrison Women's Health deeply regrets any concern this incident may cause you."
The records of over 4,000 Garrison Women's Health patients from 2022 were corrupted by "unauthorized third-party activity", although some were able to restored.
Garrison, which is a partner with Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, began having problems with its appointment schedule and access to medical records in December because of a "data security incident" during a network outage encountered by Global Network Systems, an Exeter-based company that manages the hospital's medical records.
Global immediately hired a third-party firm to conduct a review of the incident, according to Wentworth-Douglass, which began its own investigation.The hospital also looked at security processes in place to what could be done to minimize the risk of future occurrences.
"Garrison deeply regrets any concern this incident may cause. GWH takes privacy and security very seriously." the office said in a statement.
Further investigation revealed that "certain information" regarding patient care systems between April 29, 2022, and December 12, 2022, "was subject to unauthorized third-party activity that rendered the information inaccessible and for which there was not a backup available," according to a statement on the Wentworth-Douglass Partners website.
Global and Wentworth-Douglass were able to find alternative data back-up methods, and some information, such as specific radiology and ultrasound applications, were eventually restored and completed during the first week of January.
However, some records like physician notes and encounter and scheduling data, could not be recovered. Other information not able to be recovered includes:
- Medical and/or treatment information (such as visits, procedures, tests, medical record number, diagnosis, medical history, genetic information, and various types of assessments, imaging and results)
- Coding, claims and insurance/payment information for services provided at GWH during that timeframe
- Scheduling information for upcoming appointments
Affected Patients Notified
Garrison has started to notify all patients who had an appointment or visited Garrison between April 29 and December 12 of the situation via letter.
The issue has not affected Wentworth-Douglass Hospital’s network or any other Wentworth-Douglass Hospital core clinical system.
"We have no evidence that your personal health information was exfiltrated (taken) or accessed (viewed) by the unauthorized party from Global’s hosted environment," the hospital said in its statement.
Wentworth-Douglass suggested that patients review their statements from healthcare providers and insurance companies to make sure they are correct. Those with billing concerns can call the incident call center at 833-896-7532 Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. EST.
Hospitals Warned About Cyberattacks
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" and 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.
CentraState Hospital in New Jersey suffered a breach in December. It only disclosed the full extent of the breach Friday that the names, addresses, and Social Security numbers of 617,000 patients was compromised when an archived database was obtained by a hacker.
Seacoast Online was first to report about the Garrison Women's Health incident.