Union Petitions Remediation Steps Following Ransomware Attack on Ascension

by | Jun 9, 2024

The cyberattack on Ascension has led to the shutdown of some hospitals’ critical systems for over three weeks. Although Ascension has downtime procedures in place, doctors are under pressure because of the burden of using pen and paper for recording, and many have been vocal about the risk to patients’ lives. Ascension has given a press release stating that employees are working 24 / 7 to restore systems online, but the critical systems of many hospitals are still inaccessible.

Nurses working in those hospitals have complained about having too many patients making it difficult to ensure patient safety. Some nurses deal with 5-6 patients and feel overwhelmed and burdened by paper charting. It is feared that medical errors could occur without the use of electronic medical records. Doctors are depending on patients to share all the medicines they are on. Failing to say even one medication can have critical health implications. Without access to computers, lab results are also inaccessible and could lead to mistakes in giving patients medications. Because of all the issues, processes that usually take 30 to 60 minutes are now taking a few hours, slowing down the decisions that seriously affect patients’ health.

There is a local union that represents nurses at Ascension Providence Rochester Hospital in Michigan called Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 40. It created an online petition concerning the challenges faced by its members due to the cyberattack. It demanded Ascension to take remediating safety precautionary steps to minimize the burden on employees and protect patient well-being. There were 116 nurses and other healthcare specialists at Ascension Providence Rochester Hospital that have signed the petition.

The union has required Ascension to have everyday unit shift huddles to maintain good communication, organization, and data sharing among medical specialists concerning patient care, safety practices, and any arising issues. Regular employee training sessions (which may include HIPAA training) are necessary to enhance their competence in handling the challenges caused by the cyberattack, and employees must have access to weekly reports about the progress of restoring EHRs and dealing with employees’ safety concerns. The union additionally wants to reduce optional surgeries and non-emergent admissions for the interim to minimize the pressure on resources to prioritize care for critical patients and implement a max of 4:1 nurse-to-patient ratio.

These safeguards are necessary to protect both medical professionals and patients during this difficult time. The hospital management must take prompt action to deal with these issues and prioritize the protection and quality of healthcare for all people involved.

Ascension has stated that it is undertaking the necessary steps to restore systems online and assure patient protection. All Ascension services stay open, with interruption changing throughout its care sites. patient safety is Ascension’s utmost priority. Ascension likewise mentioned that systems are beginning to be re-established. Because of the Ascension team’s hard work in the last few days, EHR access in its first market has been restored and restoration of access throughout its network is in progress. Many vendors and business partners have likewise begun reconnecting to the Ascension network and restoring services, which makes overall recovery faster.

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Ryan Coyne

Ryan Coyne is a results-driven leader in the healthcare compliance industry, specializing in regulatory compliance, compliance training, and assisting healthcare organizations and business associates in achieving and maintaining compliance. With a deep knowledge of healthcare regulations and a keen understanding of the challenges faced by the industry, Ryan has developed a reputation as a trusted advisor and advocate for ethical and compliant practices in healthcare. Ryan has successfully advised and guided numerous healthcare organizations, business associates, and healthcare professionals on achieving and maintaining compliance with regulatory training requirements. Ryan's professional focus is using his in-depth expertise and leading a world class team of subject matter experts at ComplianceJunction in regulatory compliance to help organisations navigate the complex landscape of ensuring staff adhere to healthcare regulations. You can connect with Ryan via LinkedIn and follow on Twitter

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