Cyberattack update: 69,000 CKHA patients impacted

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By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The estimated 69,000 Chatham-Kent Health Alliance patients whose information was compromised in last fall’s criminal cyberattack can expect to receive written notification in the mail later this month.

According to CKHA president and CEO Lori Marshall, the bulk of the stolen data mainly involved names, addresses, diagnosis, treatment and appointment dates, with “very few” Ontario health card numbers compromised.

In an update to the public April 3, Marshall joined four other health-care leaders from across Southwestern Ontario whose hospitals were impacted by the attack.

The attack impacted CKHA, Bluewater Health, Erie Shores HealthCare, Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare and Windsor Regional Hospital, along with their shared services provider, TransForm Shared Service Organization

The review into affected data from the Oct. 23 cyberattack at CKHA, Bluewater Health, Erie Shores HealthCare, Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare and Windsor Regional Hospital, along with their shared services provider, TransForm Shared Service Organization, is now complete, with individuals in the serviced communities being notified if their information was impacted.

The approach around notifying individuals has been done in communication with Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner.

Patients who accessed services at more than one hospital should be aware they may receive more than one letter, Marshall told reporters.

Notices will start going out April 8, she added, pinpointing the information that was impacted, as well as a hospital contact number patients can call.

Marshall apologized for the “inconvenience and anxiety” the data breach has caused, noting systems are coming back online and the majority should be restored by the end of June.

“We deeply regret any distress this has caused,” Marshall said.

The unprecedented cyber-attack saw Sarnia-Lambton’s Bluewater Health the most heavily impacted, with 82,000 patients affected. Erie Shores HealthCare saw 102,000 patients impacted and Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare and Windsor Regional Hospital saw 46,000 and 27,800 patients impacted respectively.

With the exception of Bluewater Health, electronic medical records were untouched, officials said, however personal health information stored elsewhere on computer systems was involved, as well as employee information for some of the organizations.

All of the affected hospitals will continue to utilize TransForm Shared Services.

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