After cyberattack, patients struggle to fill scripts

Patients of Lovelace Health System say they can't refill their prescriptions as the Albuquerque, N.M.-based system recovers from a cyberattack, Albuquerque Journal reported Dec. 1. 

Thirty hospitals part of Nashville, Tenn.-based Ardent Health Services, the parent company of Lovelace, faced cyberattacks on Thanksgiving. After the ransomware attack, Lovelace told local EMS to reroute patients needing emergency care to other facilities, and nonurgent elective surgeries were rescheduled. 

On Nov. 30, Lovelace's hospitals began accepting ER patients, and the next day, all of the system's facilities resumed operations, according to the report. But patients told the Journal they have not been able to contact Lovelace officials for medication refills or request refills through MyChart. 

Toby Atkinson, a 78-year-old with diabetes, said he'll be out of his medication in the next few days after calling Lovelace multiple times and being sent to voicemail. He told the Journal his pharmacy has not received a response to their faxes. 

The voicemail recording is instructing patients to visit a Lovelace medical clinic with a list of their medications. Mr. Atkinson said he went to a Lovelace facility in person and was told he would receive a paper prescription within the next three days, which he would need to deliver to his pharmacy. 

He considered halving his doses until he gets a refill. 

"It's not like I'm going to die next week, but the quality of my life may suffer," Mr. Atkinson said.

Another patient, Caleb Gluck, told the Journal he has not been able to refill his prescription for three weeks, and two other patients said their phone calls are going unanswered as they try to reschedule appointments.

A Lovelace spokesperson said the system is "diligently working directly with any patient whose appointment or procedure will need to be rescheduled."

"We understand the frustration this has caused and sincerely regret any inconvenience to our patients," the spokesperson said. "Our team is also assisting patients in processing refill requests, and in some cases, patients may contact their pharmacy directly for prescription refills."

Patients with urgent healthcare needs are recommended to contact their provider or visit Lovelace's urgent care at Osuna & Jefferson.

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