The health network is back online, though paper notation is still being used following the cyberattack
Finger Lakes Health restored much of its electronic systems Thursday after having shut down those systems beginning about midnight Sunday due to a cyber attack.
Internet, phone and email were all back up in most cases throughout the network, though providers continued to write paper notations and documentation for medical records and other patient needs, said Lara Turbide, vice president of community services for Finger Lakes Health. Due to the backlog of email, she said people could expect it might take awhile for emails to get through.
Turbide anticipated additional electronic services would be restored in the coming days.
“Teams are working around the clock, doing a Herculean effort with all hands on deck,” she said.
Patients have been understanding and offering support during the shutdown, she added.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation continues to probe the attack. Specific electronic systems were encrypted by an outside party who is demanding payment to decrypt access, according to Finger Lakes Health. Turbide would not answer specific questions about demand for payment or other points related to the crime. She did say payment was sought, not information.
Finger Lakes Health has received “additional confirmation” that there is no indication that any patient, resident or employee information has been compromised, she said.
“Slowly and methodically, we are taking systems back up,” Turbide said. “We brought our own systems offline and shut down the internet and are now reconnecting, testing and checking things out. There is no indication of any data having been extracted.”
Turbide said the cyberattack was to extort payment, not data, and Finger Lakes Health “took precautions really quickly.”
The health network includes two hospitals, Geneva General in Geneva and Soldiers & Sailors Memorial in Penn Yan. In addition, the network includes four nursing homes, eight primary care physician practices, an ambulatory surgery center, two Urgent Care sites and six specialty-care practices, among others.
Jean Mallaber, a patient of Finger Lakes Health, was worried in the first days after the cyberattack when she couldn’t reach someone about refilling a prescription. Mallaber, who lives in Shortsville, tried calling her primary care provider but the phone systems there were down. Finally, she made a call that got picked up by a neighboring office in Clifton Springs and someone there walked across a hall and into her provider’s office, delivering her message. Late Wednesday, after Finger Lakes Health had begun restoring phone and some other services, Mallaber received assurance her prescription was being filled and would be ready at her pharmacy.
Relieved, Mallaber said she is grateful for the help but marvels that there wasn’t a plan in place that could have avoided such confusion.
On Wednesday, Turbide said messages were getting to the appropriate offices, “even it that meant bringing them right into the offices.”
Anyone experiencing trouble reaching someone with Finger Lakes Health should call the main number: 315-787-4000.