Cyberattack on Change Healthcare Disrupts US Pharmacies and Military Health Care

The cyberattack and its impact

Change Healthcare, one of the largest health care technology companies in the US, has been hit by a cyberattack that has disrupted its services and affected millions of customers. The company, which handles patient payments and orders across the US health care system, detected a “cyber security issue” on Wednesday morning, and took immediate action to disconnect its systems to prevent further damage.

The cyberattack has caused a nationwide outage for many pharmacies and military health care facilities, which rely on Change Healthcare to process prescriptions and insurance claims. Customers have reported difficulties in getting their medications and paying their bills, as well as long wait times and confusion at the pharmacies.

The cyberattack is being blamed on a “suspected nation-state associated cyber security threat actor”, according to UnitedHealth Group, the parent company of Change Healthcare. The company did not name the suspected country behind the attack, but said it has identified and isolated the affected systems, and is working to restore its operations as soon as possible.


The response and the investigation

Change Healthcare has issued a statement on its website, apologizing for the inconvenience and assuring its customers that it is doing everything it can to resolve the issue. The company also said that it is cooperating with law enforcement and cyber security experts to investigate the incident and prevent any future attacks.

The company has also notified the affected customers and partners, and provided them with alternative ways to access its services and support. The company said that it has not found any evidence that any customer data has been compromised or misused as a result of the cyberattack.

The US Department of Defense, which oversees the military health care program Tricare, has also issued a statement, saying that it is aware of the cyberattack and its impact on its beneficiaries. The department said that it is working with Change Healthcare and other partners to mitigate the situation and ensure the continuity of care for its members.

The background and the implications

Change Healthcare is one of the leading providers of health care technology solutions in the US, with over 15 billion transactions and one-third of US patient records handled by its systems annually. The company offers a range of products and services, such as electronic health records, revenue cycle management, payment integrity, data analytics, and clinical connectivity.

The company is a division of UnitedHealth Group, one of the largest health insurance and health care services companies in the world. In 2022, UnitedHealth Group completed a $7.8 billion merger of its subsidiary Optum and Change Healthcare, creating a health care technology powerhouse.

The cyberattack on Change Healthcare is the latest in a series of cyberattacks targeting the US health care sector, which has been under increasing pressure and demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, several major health care organizations, such as Universal Health Services, Magellan Health, and Cognizant, were hit by ransomware attacks, which encrypted their data and demanded payment for its release.

The cyberattack on Change Healthcare also raises questions about the security and resilience of the US health care system, which relies heavily on digital technology and data. The cyberattack exposes the vulnerabilities and risks of the system, and the potential consequences for the health and safety of millions of Americans.

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