Cyberattack affects prescription payments

Updates are being posted to the Optum website regarding a cyberattack that is causing issues for hospitals and pharmacies.

Updates are being posted to the Optum website regarding a cyberattack that is causing issues for hospitals and pharmacies.

At least one Carson Valley resident was told by a Gardnerville pharmacy on Saturday that they would have to pay for their prescription out of pocket or wait after a cyberattack on one of the largest health care technology companies in the United States.

Change Healthcare said on its web site that it’s experiencing a cyber security issue and is working to address the matter after the Feb. 21 attack.

 “Once we became aware of the outside threat, and in the interest of protecting our partners and patients, we took immediate action to disconnect Change Healthcare’s systems to prevent further impact,” the company said on an update issued Monday morning. “This action was taken so our customers and partners do not need to. We have a high-level of confidence that Optum, UnitedHealthcare and UnitedHealth Group systems have not been affected by this issue.”

The company's filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission claimed it "identified a suspected nation-state associated cyber security threat actor had gained access to some of the Change Healthcare information technology systems."

The American Hospital Association said in a statement released about the attack that it has been in communication with the FBI, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

In 2022, UnitedHealth Group completed its merger of U.S. healthcare services company Optum and Change Healthcare, the association said. Optum provides services in technology, data, pharmacy care and direct health care.

“Due to the sector wide presence and the concentration of mission critical services provided by Optum, the reported interruption could have significant cascading and disruptive effects on revenue cycle, certain health care technologies and clinical authorizations provided by Optum across the health care sector,” according to the hospital association. “Based upon the statements from Change Healthcare 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 association said shortly after the attack. “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.”


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