380 Denver-area heart patients impacted by possible computer hack

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — A possible computer hack South Denver Cardiology Associates means appointments for 380 patients had to be canceled on Friday. 

SDCA is affiliated with Centura Health but only the three satellite offices of SDCA were affected.

Patients who arrived for their appointments on Friday were told they couldn’t be seen because SDCA has no access to its patient records.

“Pretty concerning,” said Kameron Cook, who drove her husband an hour each way from Conifer to reach the Littleton office for an EKG appointment that never happened. “He’s just been through a lot. He’s had a stroke and heart issues. It’s just a lot of confidential information.”

A Centura Health spokeswoman told the Problem Solvers it does not appear anything malicious happened, but added the investigation is just underway.

In a statement, Centura Health said:

“On May 13, South Denver Cardiology Associates (SDCA) experienced an Information Technology (IT) network issue.  In an abundance of caution, SDCA took its system off line and SDCA locations are closed today (May 14).  SDCA operates on a separate network.  All other Centura Health locations continue to run normal operations. Both Centura and SDCA are working together to address any issues in order to return to normal operations as soon as possible.”

Mitch Tanenbaum is the Chief Information Security Officer for CyberCecurity, a local digital security company. He told FOX31, it’s likely there is more going on than Centura Health and SDCA are acknowledging.

“Nobody goes off and shuts down their entire network because they had a hit on the firewall,” said Tanenbaum. “Just think about the revenue impact of shutting down three, four, five sites for a day. You’re not going to do that just because there’s some alert on the firewall. It’s got to be way more than that.”

While Tanenbaum said it’s possible a key computer server could have crashed causing SDCA unable to access patient records, he said it’s more likely that an employee clicked on a phishing link they probably shouldn’t have.

“This is the challenge in the health care world, we’re seeing breach after breach after breach,” said Tanenbaum.

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