MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — “I would not wish this on anybody.”
Joey Peay has experienced a lot in his 20 years as CEO at Murfreesboro Medical Clinic.
“There were some long nights, some long hours, some hard times, some difficult tasks, some tough decisions we had to make,” he said.
However, a cyberattack that hit the clinic on April 22 was one of the hardest things he’s had to face.
“From the 22nd we thought we had beaten them back,” said Peay.
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A week later things had taken a drastic turn, forcing Peay to close all of their clinics.
“It was a tough decision but it’s one we needed to make,” he said. “That is, to some degree, some of my biggest disappointments in that we could not be as forthcoming with patients initially as we needed to be.”
Peay says they couldn’t announce the news until early May because they were working with law enforcement. While working to keep the public updated, they also were tasked with reconstructing their entire system.
“It was a situation that normally would take weeks, and we did it basically in four days,” he said.
According to Edward Stringfellow, who has spent years in the IT world, “Cyber attacks, they are typically in the system for months.”
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Stringfellow has been providing IT services to healthcare providers across the country and said these attacks can happen to anyone. He advises healthcare providers to have a strategy and spend the correct amount of money on IT services.
“Think about what a medical record could have, social security, name, payment information,” said Stringfellow. “So it’s a gold mine of information for these cyber criminals.”
One of the hardest things about all of this for Peay is the impact it had on his community.
“I guess the biggest disappointment that I have from the whole process is the inconvenience, and the pain it caused our patients that all of a sudden they’re supposed to come in for a doctor’s appointment on a Tuesday, and well MMC is unexpectedly closed,” he said.
Peay said, while they are still working to get back to 100%, he hopes their situation can bring more awareness to others in our area.
“Your company has been a target,” he said. “They may not have been successful, but I can almost assure you somebody’s sneaking around the back doors trying to figure out ways in.”
Peay said they aren’t sure if the cyber attackers gained access to patient information, but they are working with IT experts to identify how they were able to get into their system.
You can view the latest updates on services and MMC locations HERE.