Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Change Healthcare Announces that Recent Hack Compromised Patient Data


As almost everyone is now aware of Change Healthcare, which is owned by United Healthcare, suffered a massive data breach in February of 2024.  The breach was so severe that it ended up forcing Change Healthcare to take all of their systems offline, although it may have been a Ransomware attack that encrypted data making it inaccessible.  Encryption was the likely culprit because Change Healthcare ended up quickly paying a ransom of $22 million to the perpetrators in order to get things back to even a semblance of working order.

This breach affected a "significant portion of the US population" while also having a major impact on the entire US healthcare system.  When Change Healthcare went down it brought their payment services to a screeching halt meaning hospitals, doctors, and pharmacies couldn't file claims or be payed for claims they had already filed.  I've spoken to several doctors that have stated that even now, over three months since the February 21, 2024 breach, they are still awaiting payment on multiple claims.

Now comes word that in addition to the payment problems, patient data was also compromised.  It seems that the hackers posted 22 screenshots on public facing websites that revealed PHI (Personal Health Information) as well as personally identifiable information.

If you have been affected by this hack, you can visit a page with more information that was created by UnitedHealth Group.  

The federal government has also gotten involved in this situation and has created a webpage that provides more information for anyone affected.  

At some point (if it hasn't happened already) some unfortunate patient is going to die due to something akin to this.  This breach caused hospitals to cancel some surgeries, patient records were inaccessible, and some patients could not get needed prescriptions.

Healthcare companies are being increasingly targeted by these Ransomware groups and while I don't personally have the answer, experts need to figure out a way to stop these.  Patient lives are at stake.

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