Some CHI Memorial systems are back online weeks after cyberattack

Staff Photo / Nurses Yuliya Belova, left, and Rolla Dayrit use the newly installed Epic electronic health record system in the Clinical Decision Unit at CHI Memorial Hospital on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Some CHI Memorial computer systems are back online following a cyberattack that left staff across the health system scrambling to care for patients without key electronic tools, including computerized health records, for nearly three weeks.

As of Friday, CHI Memorial's electronic health record system within its three hospitals was functioning, and hospital providers were able to access their patients' electronic health records, spokesperson Karen Long said via email.

Other systems -- such as electronic health records at CHI Memorial's outpatient physician offices and patient access to MyChart -- had yet to return, but MyChart was expected to be available in the coming days.

"We are in the process of restoring those systems that were taken offline," Long said. "As systems come back online, all our providers will be able to access their patients' electronic health records. It will take some time before we can restore full functionality, and we continue work to bring our systems up as quickly and safely as we can."

(READ MORE: Ransomware attack cause of CHI Memorial's IT issues, officials confirm)

CHI Memorial was one of several health systems affected by a ransomware attack on its parent company, CommonSpirit Health -- which owns 142 hospitals and roughly 2,200 health care locations across 21 states, making it one of the largest health systems in the nation.

Hospital industry experts are dubbing the attack one the most significant of its kind in history.

The attack has forced CHI Memorial clinicians across the Chattanooga region to revert to using paper charts and hand-deliver lab orders and prescriptions.

Amy Maxwell, a spokesperson for Hamilton County Office of Emergency Management, said via email that on Oct. 3, shortly after the attack began, the office was notified and ambulance traffic for "non-critical patients" was diverted to other local hospitals. Normal hospital traffic resumed Oct. 4, according to Maxwell.

Many non-emergency procedures that were scheduled over the past weeks also had to be postponed.

In addition, internal communication from CommonSpirit obtained by the Times Free Press shows that the software hourly employees at CHI-affiliated facilities use to track their time and attendance was taken offline.

As a result, the communication states employees would still be paid on time, but those payments would be based on estimates from the previous pay periods. That means some staff may be either over- or underpaid, according to the communication.

Sonia Moss, a spokesperson for CHI Memorial, said in an email that the health system is committed to paying employees for "every hour worked."

Long said that through the process, CHI Memorial has taken steps to protect its systems and continue care.

"We are only taking steps to restore systems when it is safe and secure to do so," she said. "We thank our patients, clinicians, team members and the community for their patience."

Contact Elizabeth Fite at or 423-757-6673. Follow her on Twitter @ecfite.