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Fergus Falls health system's computer network disrupted after ransomware attack

This is one of a handful of cybersecurity incidents in the region over the last few months.

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — Computer systems at Lake Region Healthcare have been down or disrupted since Dec. 22 due to a ransomware attack, which has affected other regional hospitals in the area.

In a statement released Wednesday, Dec. 30, Lake Region Healthcare CEO Kent Mattson said federal and local law enforcement, as well as a team of third-party experts, are investigating the attack. The statement also said there isn't enough evidence to indicate any data was stolen, or that patients and staff are in danger.

Right now, they're operating off alternative systems.

An earlier statement indicated many operations were disrupted, including at Battle Lake, Ashby and Barnesville locations.

While requests for Vice President of Marketing and Communications Katie Johnson to speak over the phone or virtually were denied, Johnson said via email that other than stroke patients, most haven't been sent to other health care facilities.

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She also said most systems are restored and they are now able to read lab and radiology test results.

Some patients' families told Forum News Service that some of their procedures have been affected.

This is one of a handful of cybersecurity incidents in the region over the last few months, including a phishing incident on the North Dakota Department of Health in October, and a ransomware attack on Universal Health Services in September, which forced its hospitals, like Prairie St. John's in Fargo, to briefly shut down computer systems.

Johnson said the investigation remains active and that Lake Region Healthcare recommends patients call to confirm appointments before being seen.

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