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Cybersecurity incident impacting nation's pharmacies

Pharmacies are reporting issues with billing insurance to fill prescriptions.
Cybersecurity incident impacting nation's pharmacies
Posted at 10:04 AM, Feb 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-23 12:04:30-05

Pharmacies across the U.S. are having difficulty billing insurance for some prescriptions after a cybersecurity incident at a major health care technology company.

Change Healthcare released multiple statements this week providing updates to customers and informing them of the issue. 

"Change Healthcare is experiencing a cyber security issue, and our experts are working to address the matter," a statement released Friday said. "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. At this time, we believe the issue is specific to Change Healthcare, and all other systems across UnitedHealth Group are operational. The disruption is expected to last at least through the day. We will provide updates as more information becomes available."

SEE MORE: AT&T says widespread outage was not caused by cyberattack

The American Hospital Association issued an advisory in response to the incident. Optum and Change Health Care completed a merger in 2022. 

"We recommend that all health care organizations that were disrupted or are potentially exposed by this incident consider disconnection from Optum until it is independently deemed safe to reconnect to Optum," the American Hospital Association said. "It also is recommended that organizations which utilize Optum’s services prepare related downtime procedures and contingency plans should Optum’s services remain unavailable for an extended period."

While prescriptions are largely being processed across the U.S., it is prompting some issues, especially with billing. 

"What does this mean for you? We CAN receive your RX but MOST insurance plans we cannot bill to your insurance company," Michigan-based Canadian Lakes Pharmacy said in a Facebook post. "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."


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