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Hospital launches dedicated phone line for cyberattack victims

Published on

Tara Jeffrey

Bluewater Health says it has opened a dedicated phone service for patients who may have had their SIN numbers compromised as a result of the recent cyberattack.

Specifically, patients who have visited the hospital since November 1999 for a work-related injury, such as a WSIB claim, are asked to phone (519) 346-4604, officials said in a news release, Friday.

That applies to visits at Bluewater Health and all past associated institutions, including the Lambton Hospitals Group; Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital; Sarnia General Hospital; St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Beginning today the phone service will be answered seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Bluewater Health personnel will be providing patients with details on how to access third party identity theft protection and credit monitoring solutions,” the hospital stated. “This monitoring and protection plan will be arranged by the hospital and will be available for two years to those identified.”

Bluewater Health will not be asking patients for their SIN numbers over the phone during this process.

“We remind the public to be vigilant in ongoing scamming efforts and to not offer personal identification over the phone,” officials added.

Bluewater Health appears to be the hardest hit of a group of southwestern Ontario hospitals targeted in a ransomware attack on Oct. 23. Officials announced this month that data on some 5.6 million patient visits had been stolen — including information on patients seen at Bluewater Health or predecessor institutions since Feb. 1992.

The hospital group did not pay a ransom and have confirmed that data connected to the cyberattack has been published.

“This matter is of the utmost importance to Bluewater Health and is being treated as our highest priority,” the statement added. “More information regarding the recent cyberattack can be found on our website at www.bluewaterhealth.ca/cyberattack-at-regional-hospitals-community-information.”

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