By Chris Mannara
At 11:29 this morning, Pagosa Springs Medical Center (PSMC) was forced to enact its emergency operations plan (EOP) due to a bomb threat.
The PSMC human resources department received an email from an outside source threatening that if PSMC did not put 20,000 of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin into an account by the close of business today, explosive devices would be detonated.
According to PSMC CEO Rhonda Webb, these explosive devices would not cause structural damage, but would cause “human suffering.”
The email added that the explosive devices would be activated if law enforcement was notified.
PSMC’s firewall detected the email as spam and PSMC’s own information technology department did some research and concluded that the email was likely spam, for it never mentioned a gateway— generally Flexipay— through which the transaction had to be carried out, Webb noted.
Following the email being received, PSMC enacted its EOP and contacted the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office and the Town of Pagosa Springs police chief, Webb explained.
“They then came to our campus, reviewed the emergency operations plan and initiated a low-level search and the end of that search then called an ‘all clear’,” Webb described.
Management was also notified of what was going on and, in turn, informed their employees, Webb added.
PSMC did not evacuate, Webb noted.
Law enforcement later informed PSMC that three other hospitals in the state received the same email today, Webb added. Webb did not know specifically which hospitals were contacted.
Typically, PSMC activates EOPs due to weather, so this was a first for the medical center, Webb stated.
Webb indicated, “The current state of PSMC is “back to normal.”
“We take these things very seriously. Anytime we activate an emergency operations plan is because we have something that’s outside of what our normal routine business is,” Webb said.
“Our IT folks were able to trace the IP address to Russia,” said PSMC Kathee Douglas.
The situation was handled appropriately, Webb added later.
For more information, see next week’s Pagosa Springs SUN.