19/04/2024

Care Health

Prioritize Healthy life

Health care cyberattack ‘likely one of the worst,’ expert says

Health care cyberattack ‘likely one of the worst,’ expert says

A major health care provider has been hit by a cyberattack, leaving some people scrambling to get their prescriptions or attend their appointments.

The problem has become dire for patients, hospitals and pharmacies.

My Community Pharmacy in Wellington is among those impacted. They use a coupon card service from Change Health Care to help their customers cut costs.

“Let’s say your insurance is usually a hundred dollars co-pay for a brand drug,” Johnny Meier, the owner of My Community Pharmacy, said. “Well, these coupons can make it $0, $25, $50 or whatever.”

Johnny Meier discusses how the cyberattack has been impacting his customers.
Johnny Meier discusses how the cyberattack has been impacting his customers.

Since Feb. 22, he said the coupon service hasn’t been working. Change Health Care is owned by United Healthcare Group. United Healthcare was the victim of a cyberattack Feb. 21.

So, how bad is the situation?

“This is likely one of the worst cyberattacks on our health care system in this country,” Mary Mayhew, the president and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association, said.

Mayhew said the cyberattack was against United HealthCare’s claims clearance house. The attack brought insurance payments and prescription processing to a halt for providers across the country.

“It’s the ability of hospitals to provide care, bill for that care and get paid,” Mayhew said.

She said United Healthcare’s claims house has been shut down for 14 days.

Mary Mayhew explains how significant the cyberattack is to the U.S. health care industry.
Mary Mayhew explains how significant the cyberattack is to the U.S. health care industry.

“The longer this persists it may affect their ability to provide certain health care services,” Mayhew said. “We’re talking in Florida hundreds of millions of dollars of payments not being made by insurance companies, including United Healthcare.”

Mayhew said changing clearing houses could take up to 90 days. Most people don’t have that kind of time to wait for their medication.

Meier says he’s not sure what’s going to happen. He said it’s left him wondering one thing.

“How are we getting these patients their needed medications?” he said.

United Healthcare sent WPTV a statement that reads in part:

Change Healthcare can confirm we experienced a cybersecurity issue perpetrated by a cybercrime threat actor who has represented itself to us as ALPHV/Blackcat. Our experts are working to address the matter and we are working closely with law enforcement. We are actively working to understand the impact to members, patients and customers.

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