Ascension Confirms Ransomware Attack, Affecting Facilities Across U.S.

St. Louis-based Ascension confirmed it experienced a ransomware attack that has caused disrupted access to digital records. Photo credit: Shutterstock (Sashkin).

Posted May 14, 2024

St. Louis-based Ascension announced it experienced a ransomware attack, causing hospitals across its system to experience disruptions to patient care.

On May 8, Ascension detected unusual activity on its network due to a cybersecurity event. The health system then confirmed it was a ransomware attack, according to a statement on the Ascension’s website. Ascension is working on restoring its systems as well as establishing a dedicated website to provide updates on the matter, according to a Monday statement.

“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,” an Ascension spokesperson said in the statement.

The ransomware attack has affected regional systems including hospitals in Alabama, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

In Kansas, all Ascension Via Christi hospitals, physician offices and care sites across the state remain open and operational, however, Ascension Rx retail pharmacies in Wichita cannot fill patients’ prescriptions.

Four sources briefed on the investigation told CNN the type of ransomware used in the hack is known as Black Basta, commonly used to attack healthcare organizations.

Additionally, the ransomware has also produced two lawsuits from Acention patients against the health system. The first was Katherine Negon in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, filed on May 12 followed by Ana Marie Turner in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, filed on May 13.

Ascension operates 140 hospitals across 19 states and the District of Columbia and has over 134,000 employees.