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Change Healthcare Cyberattack Has Major Impact on Military

— March 4, 2024

Military facilities were hit hard by commercial prescription processor attack.

Modern life is almost entirely online. No matter what it is, there is a digital, online component that needs to be considered. From shopping and entertainment to banking, education, work, and more, the whole world is on the internet. This comes with some incredible conveniences and some serious vulnerabilities. One of those vulnerabilities was highlighted recently when Change Healthcare, the biggest commercial prescription processor in the country, was hacked. Given the obvious importance of making sure people get their medications in a timely manner, and that they get the right medications, this is a concerning event that needs to be addressed properly by the relevant authorities, particularly those in the military.

When the attack was launched on Change Healthcare, it was determined that it was impacting military clinics and hospitals around the world. In order to put a stop to the damage and regain control over the situation, Change Healthcare made the decision to take its systems offline on February 21, 2024. Obviously, this decision took down the system that is used constantly to fill prescriptions, but it had the benefit of safeguarding patient information while the attack was investigated, and a course of action was determined.

In order to continue to provide medication to the many military members that they serve, military pharmacies have been forced to used manual procedures for the time being. They are prioritizing the urgent medications, as it is difficult to keep up with demand without having access to the digital, automated system that is usually responsible for this process. Patients who are in need of medication are encouraged to contact the military clinic or retail pharmacy near them to get updates and information on how they can proceed.

Change Healthcare Cyberattack Has Major Impact on Military
Photo by Danny Meneses from Pexels

As of March 1st, this is an ongoing situation, and the resolution has not yet been determined.

“We’re continuing to fill prescriptions in our pharmacies, but in certain cases, we are not able to process insurance claims, which our business continuity plan is addressing to ensure patients continue to have access to their prescriptions,” said Mike DeAngelis, CVS’ executive director of corporate communications.

Change Healthcare will continue to work on finding answers and determining a way to bring the system back online without putting personal information at risk or opening themselves up to another attack. While the outage goes on, it seems likely that the military healthcare system will be able to improve its ability to distribute medications safely and in a timely manner.

The online environment is more secure than it was years ago, but there is still a long way to go toward making sure people and their information stay safe online. The battle between hackers and cybersecurity experts is ongoing and is unlikely to ever come to a conclusion. Not all cyberattacks deal with things as important as prescription medications, so an event like this is always sure to draw significant attention when it does occur. Once the damage has been assessed and the security of the system has been restored, the attack will hopefully be used as a learning moment so the whole infrastructure can be made more robust moving forward.


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