Pharmacies Across The US Report Outages After Cyberattack

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ZeroHedge)

Pharmacies across the United States were suffering outages as a health technology company reported that it was the target of a cyberattack.

Change Healthcare, which handles patient payments and orders for pharmacies around the nation, confirmed in a statement on Thursday afternoon that it noticed a cybersecurity incident impacting its networks, according to its website.

Change Healthcare is experiencing a network interruption related to a cyber security issue and our experts are working to address the matter. Once we became aware of the outside threat, in the interest of protecting our partners and patients, we took immediate action to disconnect our systems to prevent further impact,” Change Healthcare told news outlets.

It added that “we believe the issue is specific to Change Healthcare and all other systems across UnitedHealth Group are operational,” while “the disruption is expected to last at least through the day.”

The company said in a series of updates that it noticed the outages on Wednesday morning. The outage appeared to be still ongoing as of around 12 p.m. ET.

The nature of the cybersecurity issue was not disclosed, and other details were not provided. It’s also unclear when the service outage will be resolved.

Several pharmacies this week have said they were unable to access the systems and reported an outage due to the cyberattack, according to reports.

For example, Scheurer Health, based in Michigan, wrote on social media that it couldn’t process prescriptions via their insurance due to the “nationwide outage from the largest prescription processor in North America,” referring to Change Healthcare.

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Another Michigan company, Canadian Lakes Pharmacy, wrote that “there is a nationwide outage from some of the largest prescription processors in North America,” while adding: “We CAN receive your RX but MOST insurance plans we cannot bill to your insurance company. If you can wait a day or so to pick up your RX that would be great. If you need it today we can do our best to accommodate individual needs.”

Another firm, Athenahealth, said it was informed of the issue by Change and the “problem is being actively worked on by Change Healthcare, and athenaEDITM is monitoring the issue closely,” according to reports. It warned that customers might see that their transactions showing up with a “no response” status.

“We are experiencing a temporary pharmacy outage at the 22d [sic] Medical Group. We understand the inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your patience as we work diligently to resolve the issue. Our team is working to restore complete pharmacy services as soon as possible,” reads a social media post from the 22nd Medical Group, a medical center connected to Kansas’ McConnell Air Force Base.

It added that the “estimated date for resolving this issue will be tomorrow or later. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates on our progress.”

A number of health care companies use Change Healthcare for making payments and their financials, according to Forbes magazine. It means that a heath care company that uses Change could suffer monetary losses amid the outage.

Change Healthcare is owned by health insurance UnitedHealth Group and became a subsidiary in 2022 in a deal worth $7.8 billion. It means that the company has access to the patient records of a significant number of Americans. It’s not clear if the cybersecurity incident led to the unauthorized access of health care or personal information.

Change Healthcare did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Other Outages

Notably, a significant number of AT&T users across the United States on Thursday morning reported service outages, leaving them unable to send texts, make phone calls, or use their cellular data.  A subsidiary, Cricket Wireless, also suffered outages.

Due to the disruption, a number of law enforcement, government, and emergency services said that AT&T customers couldn’t call 911, drawing a response from state and federal officials.

By mid-day, however, AT&T said it had restored access to about 75 percent of customers. The company has not disclosed why the service outage occurred.

Sourced from ZeroHedge

Image: Pixabay

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