Nationwide cyberattack on healthcare giant blocks patients from insurance, prescriptions

Monique John Image
Thursday, February 22, 2024
Cyberattack on Change Healthcare affects pharmacies, insurance
Change Healthcare said in a statement that it disconnected its system to prevent further attacks.

FAYETTEVILLE, N,C. (WTVD) -- A cyberattack against a healthcare tech giant shut down people's access to their medications all across the country.

It affected pharmacies and several hospital systems in central North Carolina including Duke, UNC, and Cape Fear Valley Health.

The pharmacy at the Cape Fear Valley Health Medical Center on Ramsey Street in Fayetteville is one of the facilities that was affected. Cape Fear Valley Health said it can't process patients' insurance because of the cyberattack on the tech company Change Healthcare.

Without the help of insurance, many medications become exponentially more expensive. People in the community told ABC11 that they were upset about having to pay much more than usual for medications they needed.

"Times are hard these days and something like that would impact a family," said Kelly Garrett of Fayetteville.

"I would be upset but what can you really do these days? If it's some kind of hacking or something that's causing an outage on the network, there's nothing they can really do about it except try to fix it as quickly as they possibly can," said Ron Fitzpatrick of Fayetteville.

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The pharmacy on Ramsey Street said it had been unable to process insurance since Wednesday.

"That security when it comes to the insurance and everything, needs to be stepped up, I think," said Micah Jones of Fayetteville.

Change Healthcare issued a statement saying it has disconnected its system to prevent further attacks. While it said it believes the problem is specific to Change Healthcare, the company said all other systems across the UnitedHealth Group are still running.

"Cyberattacks basically need to be more monitored, need better security. It shouldn't be affecting our children, especially us as people because medicine is a main thing that a lot of people need," Jones said.

Change Healthcare said it believes this will still be an issue for the rest of Thursday.

Cape Fear Valley Health encouraged patients to reach out to their pharmacies with any questions.