Security incident with Virginia Mason Franciscan Health causing patient worries

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health is dealing with a hacking incident that is impacting its workers and patients.

The health care provider is calling it an “IT security incident,” which is affecting its parent company, CommonSpirit Health.

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health issued a statement that it had taken certain IT systems offline as a precaution, which may impact electronic health records and other systems.

Some patients say they haven’t been able to access their online charts and their appointments have been rescheduled. Doctors are also having difficulty accessing patients’ health records. For patients who were scheduled to have procedures soon, there is now a lot of uncertainty.

KIRO 7 spoke with a patient who was supposed to have an important medical examination later this week, but she has now been told that the appointment may be in limbo.

“You have to be mentally prepared, and I do it and I want it over with. I just don’t want to keep bouncing the date down the calendar,” said patient Lorrie Scott.

The outage is also affecting patients’ abilities to refill their prescriptions.

“I’m trying not to stress about it because stress only adds to my pain, so I know there’s nothing I can do at this point,” said Emil Drotz, who’s a patient of the healthcare provider.

Drotz was supposed to take his weekly medication on Sunday but that has yet to happen. “I would’ve been OK if it was Tuesday but now it’s Wednesday and it probably won’t get shipped until, hopefully, I’ll get it by Friday or Saturday.”

In its statement, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health said it was following protocols for system outages, adding, “We take our responsibility to ensure the privacy of our patients and IT security very seriously. As a result of this incident, we have rescheduled some patient appointments.”

It’s unclear what kind of patient information, if any, has been compromised, or how many hospitals have been affected. KIRO 7 sought more details about the incident from Virginia Mason’s media spokesperson but is still awaiting an answer.

CommonSpirit Health operates 140 hospitals in 21 states, including 10 around western Washington.

While some of its locations are in limbo, its First Hill location in Seattle has not been impacted by the outage.

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