Based in San Diego, Scripps Health is a nonprofit health care provider with five hospitals and 19 outpost facilities employing over 2,600 affiliate physicians. The organization treats more than 700,000 patients a year. Over the weekend, it became the latest health care facility to fall victim to ransomware. The attack caused the critical-care patients to be redirected to other hospitals and patient services to be taken offline. Due to the attack, hospitals in Encinitas, La Jolla, San Diego, and Chula Vista will no longer receive stroke or heart attack patients. Scripps Health is working to return to normal operations and has informed law enforcement and government organizations of the situation.
Scripps Health had quarterly revenues of $790 million in 2020, making them an attractive target for ransomware gangs. Threat actors can leverage stolen and leaked medical records to impersonate legitimate patients to commit various forms of fraud, including submitting fraudulent claims to health insurers without authorization. This could not only affect healthcare coverage, but also compromise safety if there’s misinformation on file that is needed for medical treatment. Anyone who may have been a victim of a medical data breach should get confirmation from their provider to find out exactly what information was stolen. Change and strengthen any online logins and implement multi-factor authentication. Asking the insurance provider for copies of claims and carefully reviewing explanation of benefits notices can reveal if a patient’s identity has been used fraudulently. This might show if inaccurate health and medical information is present in the patient’s records. Lastly, financial and credit accounts should be monitored closely, because sometimes medical insurance information is used to commit other forms of financial fraud. Placing a credit freeze on file with the credit bureaus and notifying banks or other financial institutions is helpful to prevent fraud when identity theft is suspected.