UVM Health Network cyber-attack won’t affect most appointments

Local News

UVM Health Network’s information technology staff is working with the FBI to determine what happened to which computer systems in an apparent cyber-attack discovered Wednesday.

The Network’s coronavirus testing sites are still operational, but the results of tests done through them may be processed more slowly than usual. Most doctors’ appointments are still taking place.

“We have a way to do our telemedicine visits,” UVM Medical Center president and chief operating officer Dr. Stephen Leffler said. “They have happened today; I know patients who have gotten those and they went well today. We are doing in-person visits — they may feel a little different than usual, but your clinicians are there and ready to take care of you. They can write prescriptions, do exams and all the normal things that you may need.”

The MyChart Patient Portal, which stores patients’ electronic medical records, appointment times and other information, is completely down throughout the Network. UVM Medical Center said it re-scheduled some elective procedures scheduled for Thursday. All other facilities in the Network have been able to maintain all their patient care services.

“We have told our staff we don’t think it’s going to be done in hours,” Dr. Leffler said. “Think in days, because that makes everyone shift to the new way of doing paper documentation and all those pieces are in place.”

According to, Dawn LeBaron, UVMMC vice president of hospital services, the Network has never experienced a shutdown as drastic as this one. However, she said, staff members are following contingency plans.

“Now, to say that it’s like it was two days ago? Absolutely not,” LeBaron said. “It’s very different, but like everything else, our staff feels confident and they are focusing on what they need to do, and they’re very encouraging in their feedback to us about ‘we’ve got this’.”

UVM Health Network officials say any updates about the investigation of the cyber-attack will have to come from law enforcement, specifically the FBI. Sarah Ruane, a spokesperson for the FBI in Albany, New York, wrote in an email:

“…we are investigating a potential cyber attack at UVM Health, along with our state and local partners. This is an active investigation, and we decline to comment further at this time.”

When we asked Vermont Department of Public Safety commissioner Michael Schirling if any patients’ records had been compromised, he wrote:

“At this stage there is not indication that patient records have been stolen, but this is early in the response and it cannot yet be ruled out.”

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