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Prescription delays persist amid continuing efforts to recover from recent cybersecurity attack

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GILLETTE, Wyo. — Issues impacting prescription systems locally and nationally are expected to last through Wednesday as efforts to address a recent nationwide healthcare cybersecurity attack continue.

The attack targeted systems managed by Change Healthcare last Wednesday, Feb. 21, resulting in nationwide disruptions to payment and pharmacy processing operations, according to a recent update provided on Feb. 28.  

The impacts of the cybersecurity attack could be trickling down to the local level at Campbell County Health, which issued a public advisory on Feb. 27 stating patients should contact their local pharmacies if they experience prescription delays. 

According to CCH Public Relations Lead Norberto Orellana, any reported delays are not specific to the local healthcare organization and appear to be part of the issue affecting ePrescribing systems across the nation. 

“CCH continues to send prescriptions as usual, but the vendor issue is causing disruptions with processing at local pharmacies,” Orellana said in a statement to County 17. “These issues are system-wide and [are] impacting prescriptions in general.”

While patients may not notice any impact, the local healthcare organization took proactive steps to communicate the situation with the community, Orellana said, adding that CCH is continuing to monitor the situation.

According to Optum, a health services innovation company working to resolve the issue, impacts from the cybersecurity attack are continuing as a resolution is sought after the attack resulted in Change Healthcare systems being taken offline in the interest of protecting its partners and patients.

Per the latest update, it is unlikely that Optum, United Healthcare and UnitedHealth Group systems were affected by the attack, and efforts are ongoing to restore the impacted environment.

“We will continue to be proactive and aggressive with all our systems and if we suspect any issue with the system, we will immediately take action and disconnect,” the update states, adding that the organization will take no shortcuts or assume additional risk as they work to bring the systems back online. “The disruption is expected to last at least through the day.”

According to a report published by Becker’s Health IT, a ransomware gang named BlackCat has claimed responsibility for the cybersecurity attack, though Change Healthcare has not confirmed the information. 

A week following the initial attack on Change Healthcare, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other government agencies issued a cybersecurity advisory warning about the resurgence of BlackCat efforts targeting the healthcare sector as recently as February 2024. 

The advisory states the healthcare sector has been the most commonly victimized out of 70 incidents since December 2023, likely in response to a BlackCat administrator’s post encouraging affiliates to target hospitals following recent operational action against the group.