CHI Health patient procedure canceled without notice due to IT security incident

As of Tuesday evening, he still hadn’t received any phone call or notification from his provider.
An ongoing information technology security issue at CHI Health hospitals across the state is impacting some patients.
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 10:23 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - An ongoing information technology issue at CHI Health hospitals in Nebraska is having an impact on some patients.

The IT issue began Monday and CHI Health says the organization’s parent company, Common Spirit Health is managing the issue.

But for patients like John Farnan, it’s been a pain.

“It did not come with lemon, lime, or orange flavor, it was neutral. I don’t want to tell you what that tastes like,” Farnan says while holding an empty gallon jug.

That jug was filled with the unappetizing, system-clearing liquid that patients must drink before they get a colonoscopy.

“I mean this is not something you look forward to, not something you enjoy, you just have to grit your teeth and do it.”

Farnan drank the gallon Sunday night into Monday, before his procedure on Monday afternoon.

“We drive to Bergan Mercy, go in the procedure center, walk up to the front counter, and I’m like ‘I’m here to check-in,’ and there was some stammering and stuttering and they‘re like, ‘well all the procedures have been canceled today.’”

Farnan says he never received a phone call or email notification about his procedure being canceled. The woman at the front desk told him because of the IT security issue the company was facing, they couldn’t access anyone’s information to notify them about cancellations.

“Stunned,” Farnan adds. “Absolutely, positively flabbergasted.”

In a statement, CHI Health told 6 News it’s taking steps to minimize disruptions, and that the incident prompted the provider to take some systems offline, including electronic health records, in order to protect patient privacy.

“We take our responsibility to ensure the privacy of our patients and IT security very seriously,” the statement reads.

But patients like Farnan are frustrated.

“I don’t know why CHI has no backup. I’m offended they spent $23 million on the naming rights to a building, but don’t have a backup computer system.”

“I’m really bothered that there had to be lots of folks traveling from out of town that showed up and got the same response I did, and I’m sure they were older, and I’m sure their schedules weren’t flexible and they had to get rides, and had to impose on family members and then, Merry Christmas, your procedure is canceled,” he says.

He’s thankful his appointment wasn’t urgent, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t for others.

“I’m sure there were other people with far more pressing issues than mine, and I can come back, but this takes two days, you have to spend a day prepping and you’re not going to do anything the day you have it.”

Farnan says now, he likely won’t get the procedure done until next year. He says it took four months to get this appointment scheduled.

As of Tuesday evening, Farnan said he still hadn’t received any phone call or notification from his provider.