'Relentless' cyberattacks no good for hospital finances, Fitch says

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Nonprofit hospitals and health systems will need to plan for increased revenue and expense pressure from "relentless" cyberattacks, Fitch Ratings said July 22. 

The last 18 months has brought a "historic" increase in the number and severity of cyberattacks on healthcare organizations, Fitch said. Hospitals and health systems are particularly at risk because of their large amounts of sensitive patient data.

"Ransomware pay-outs and efforts to protect or 'harden' healthcare systems and cyber defenses are affecting hospital financial flexibility by increasing on-going operating expenses," Fitch said. "Attacks may also hinder revenue generation and the ability to recover costs in a timely manner, particularly if they affect a hospital's ability to bill patients when financial records are compromised or systems become locked."

Fitch also pointed out that hospitals' increased use of remote work and smart medical monitoring devices heightens the risk of cyber incidents.

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