WASHINGTON (Agencies): Six weeks after a cyberattack on Change Healthcare, the nation’s largest commercial prescription processor, military pharmacies have resumed full operations. The cyberattack had disrupted regular operations at thousands of pharmacies worldwide.

Change Healthcare, which verifies if a customer’s health insurance will cover the cost of each medication, disconnected its system from other parts of the medical ecosystem following the hack on Feb. 21. This was an attempt to limit the impact of the attack. Despite the disruption, military pharmacies managed to manually fill prescriptions, albeit with longer wait times for customers.

By March 8, most retail pharmacies had resumed filling and refilling patients’ prescriptions, as much of Change Healthcare’s network had regained function. This information comes from officials at Optum, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group that oversees Change. However, on-base pharmacies took several more weeks to catch up, as Change worked with Defense Health Agency officials to reestablish its connection to their separate network.

A company spokesperson that the connection was restored in the week of April. Defense Health Agency officials have not responded to requests for information about the status of the pharmacies.

At least one military pharmacy continues to warn of extended wait times as it recovers from the disruption. The 19th Medical Group at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, announced in an April 3 Facebook post that “Pharmacy services have been fully restored and we have returned to a fully operational status, including the filling of controlled substances.”

Earlier, Defense Health Agency officials acknowledged that some beneficiaries might have been asked to pay full price for their prescriptions at Tricare’s in-network retail pharmacies affected by the Change Healthcare outage. Those customers are advised to file a claim for reimbursement with Tricare.

By Media

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