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UnitedHealth Group Reports Critical Services Restored After Cyberattack

UnitedHealthcare building

UnitedHealth Group (UHG) reported Thursday (March 14) that some critical services are back online at its subsidiary Change Healthcare, which has been dealing with a cyberattack on its claims and payment infrastructure. 

In a Thursday update on a UHG page devoted to the Change Healthcare cyber response, Wendi Whitmore, senior vice president, Unit 42 at Palo Alto Networks, a cybersecurity firm, said that firm has experts on the ground, working with UHG and its partners to restore operations.

“To date, we have reviewed and protected a large majority of infrastructure, including the server and application space, and assisted in bringing critical services back online that allowed for more than 9 million prescriptions to be filled,” Whitmore said in the update.

This news follows a Wednesday (March 13) update in which UHG said it has been working with Palo Alto Networks and Mandiant since day one, has made “substantial progress” in mitigating the impact of the cyberattack, has identified the source of the intrusion, and now has a path to restoring its data and systems.

In another update posted Wednesday, UHG said that the Change Healthcare Pharmacy Network is back online, as is its electronic prescribing capability for pharmacists, and that more than 99% of pre-incident claim volume is flowing as of that day.

UHG first announced connectivity issues related to the cyberattack on Change Healthcare on Feb. 21, saying that some applications were unavailable.

In a Feb. 22 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), UHG said it identified the cyberattack Feb. 21 and found that a “suspected nation-state associated cybersecurity threat actor” gained access to some of the Change Healthcare IT systems.

On Wednesday (March 13) the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) opened an investigation into the cyberattack, saying it will “focus on whether a breach of protected health information occurred and Change Healthcare’s and UHG’s compliance with the HIPPA Rules.”

In a statement provided to PYMNTS on Wednesday, UHG said that it will cooperate with the OCR investigation and that it is working with law enforcement.

“Our immediate focus is to restore our systems, protect data and support those whose data may have been impacted,” the statement said.