Ascension, St. Vincent’s Chilton regrouping after cyberattack

Published 11:14 am Wednesday, May 15, 2024

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

The Ascension healthcare system experienced a ransomware attack that caused disruptions to patient care across 11 states, including in Alabama and at the Ascension St. Vincent’s Chilton hospital in Clanton. Despite the cyberattack affecting operations at the hospital, physicians and staff are still seeing patients, but adjustments to wait times and procedures will be in effect for the next few weeks until everything is completely restored.

The irregular activity began happening on May 8 for Ascension, and it has since enlisted the help of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to look into the hack. On May 13, a statement from an Ascension spokesperson was released on the healthcare system’s website.

“Ascension previously reported that it experienced a ransomware attack that has caused disruptions to patient care in its network. Our priority remains on providing safe patient care. Ascension, with the support of leading cybersecurity experts, worked around the clock over the weekend to respond to the ransomware incident affecting our systems,” the statement said. “We are focused on restoring systems safely. We are making progress, however, it will take time to return to normal operations. As systems and services come back online, we will share those updates so that our patients and communities can plan accordingly. We have established a dedicated website to share any updates we have across our system. We will be expanding the site this week to provide updates related to healthcare services as they relate to specific regions.”

Updates were also released on May 14 on the Alabama region cybersecurity website ( that detailed specific changes Alabama residents will need to be aware of for any upcoming appointments. The update said that all Ascension St. Vincent’s hospitals, physician offices and care sites across Alabama are still open and operating with normal business hours. However, patients may experience longer than usual wait times and delays as hospital staff were forced to transition to a manual system for patient documentation and care. To prevent delays as much as possible, the update asked patients to bring notes on symptoms.

Getting prescriptions filled is another hurdle Ascension hospitals in Alabama are battling as certain Ascension retail pharmacies in the state are not operating. Patients are being asked to bring a list of current medications including prescription numbers and bottles to appointments, and the hospital “will work with patients to find an alternative pathway to get a fill at another pharmacy if ours is not an option.”

Other services at the hospitals like emergency rooms and surgical suites are still operating, but again, patients may experience longer than usual wait times and delays. Diagnostic imaging and treatments have been delayed in some facilities in Alabama so efforts can be focused on inpatient and emergency care efforts.

“Our care teams are well versed on dynamic situations and are appropriately trained to maintain high quality care during downtime. Our leadership, physicians, care teams, and associates are working to ensure patient care continues with minimal to no interruption. We appreciate our community’s patience and understanding,” the update on the Alabama webpage concluded.

This story will be updated as new information from Ascension regarding the cyberattack is released.