Even as medical professionals at a suburban hospital deal with the daily challenge of a surge in COVID cases, several hundred nurses say they’re being underpaid after a ransomware attack on the company that handles their paychecks.
The nurses, who work for Amita Health St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Joliet, say that thousands are being impacted by the ransomware attack, with many health care professionals only receiving partial paychecks at a time when they’re needed the most.
Some of those nurses met in a largely-virtual setting on Wednesday, discussing the challenges that they’ve experienced while their paychecks have been hit by the attack, all while battling a recent surge in COVID cases.
“It’s overwhelming,” nurse Colleen Dial said. “If you ask any of the COVID nurses, it’s worse than it was two years ago for us.”
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Called “New Year’s Rejuvenation,” the event was designed for all medical professionals and family members who are feeling the heavy burden that COVID is putting on hospitals across the country.
Dial says that her job is already hard enough, but the ransomware attack has chopped down her paycheck significantly.
“Each one (of my checks) has been about $400 less,” she said. “There’s not backup. HR should have been there to make it right.”
The nurses say that they are part of a group of thousands of individuals across the country who have been hurt by the attack on Ultimate Kronos Group’s payroll system. The partial paychecks date back to Dec. 11, and affected employees have been told to keep track of their hours, whether they be regular, holiday or overtime, on paper.
“Ideally, by the next pay period everyone should be caught up,” Patricia Meade, a board member of the St. Joseph’s Nurses Association, said. “But that’s thousands of papers you fiddle through. I can’t imagine that will happen.”
Meade called the situation “catastrophic” for nurses, saying that she’s aware of many who have had to dip into their savings accounts to make ends meet.
“It’s extra hard,” Dial said. “Everything is so expensive out there. Prices have gone up. Some nurses and aides are single parents. I don’t know how they’re going to make it right.”
The ransomware attack, which began in December, has impacted payroll for numerous customers in both the private and public sectors, including New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Tesla and MGM Resorts International, according to CNN.
It is unclear when the situation will be resolved.