A Large US Health Care Tech Company Was Hacked. It’s Leading to Billing Delays and Security Concerns

March 1, 2024

Health care providers across the country are reeling from a cyberattack on a massive U.S. health care technology company that has threatened the security of patients’ information and is delaying some prescriptions and paychecks for medical workers.

The hack could also disrupt discharging people from the hospital, a major hospital association said.

Change Healthcare announced Thursday that a ransomware group that had claimed responsibility for the attack was at fault. Change Healthcare also said it is assessing the impact of the attack, which it first acknowledged on Feb. 21 and has affected billing and care-authorization portals across the country.

“Patient care is our top priority and we have multiple workarounds to ensure people have access to the medications and the care they need,” Change Healthcare said in a statement.

Owned by UnitedHealth Group, Change Healthcare manages health care technology pipelines, processing 14 billion transactions a year. The company said its investigation determined that Change Healthcare, Optum, UnitedHealthcare and UnitedHealth Group systems have been affected. Change also confirmed Thursday that ransomware group ALPHV, or Blackcat, made the breach. The company didn’t respond to a question about whether it paid or negotiated a ransom.

One of the most immediate impacts is that people are seeing delays in getting prescriptions, American Hospital Association spokesperson Ben Teicher said. Change Healthcare said most affected pharmacies are using workarounds like writing things down.

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