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Maryland Health Department data breach still causing issues for healthcare workers

Posted at 5:49 PM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 17:53:10-05

BALTIMORE — The Maryland Department of Health is still facing some challenges after its website was breached last month. Healthcare workers all over the state said it caused a ripple effect of issues for them.

RELATED: Ransomware attack behind service disruptions at Maryland Health Department

The Maryland Board of Nursing is where every nurse and healthcare worker in the state goes to renew their license. Many of those professionals said since the breach, it’s been chaos.

Last month a cyber-attack on the Maryland Health Department's website left it nonfunctional.

People like Ruth Fishman who work in health care in the state said they’ve been given the run around when trying to take care of important issues like renewing their licenses. Fishman works in assisted living, she said one of the most frustrating parts of the process is what normally would take a few minutes to complete online is now taking hours of waiting and sometimes days.

“We’re already dealing with our staff being overburden from two-year pandemic where they have been working nonstop on the front lines to protect our resident. So normally we would go online and renew licenses and right now that’s not possible so we’re needing to do everything in person. There’s just a lot of added inconveniences to this process, paper applications, I’m going to pick up money orders, things like that which for many of us we’re spending you know a whole day or more doing that,” Fishman said.

Another issue is the healthcare workers said people at the Maryland Health Department are almost non reachable.

“Unfortunately, there’s no online system right now but we’re also not able to get in touch with anybody via the telephone or emails because they don’t have their systems up. So unfortunately, right now everything is done in person which is a challenge due to everybody’s short staff,” Fishman said.

In a press conference Wednesday morning, Governor Hogan said he is aware of the issues the nursing board has experienced and they're asking people to be patient as they too are working hard to finalize licensing.

“The board of nursing had some issues and so were trying to do a lot of that by hand and our state of emergency waived the requirement so that nobody’s license will expire, and they can continue to work,” Hogan said.

That state of emergency waived people licenses from expiring through February 3rd, but Fishman has a heads up for anyone who plans to come to the Maryland Board of Nursing anytime soon.

“Send a representative from your community to ask all the questions you have at one time. Maybe make a list of all the things you need help with and send one person out so you’re not taking your valuable employees off the floor to spend a day or more standing in line versus taking care of the seniors that need to be cared for,” Fishman said.

Many nurses said they’re trying to be patient, but they feel the system is flawed and things are taking a lot longer than normal. They believe part of the solution could be to bring in some temporary help to process things a lot faster.