AHA urges facilities to disconnect from Optum after cyberattacks

The American Hospital Association is urging healthcare facilities to disconnect from Optum systemes following a cyberattack on the insurer, The Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 22.

Change Healthcare, which combined with UnitedHealth Group's Optum in October 2022, reported a "cybersecurity incident" Feb. 21 that disrupted connectivity and healthcare operations nationwide. By the afternoon of Feb. 22, the company said it was experiencing a cybersecurity issue and had disconnected the systems to prevent further impact. No additional details have been provided on the attack.

Health systems, hospitals and pharmacies nationwide were affected by the disruptions throughout Feb. 22, including all military pharmacies worldwide. 

The AHA told members to test their data backups, ensure critical patches are up to date and designate staff for shifts to manage manual processes.

"We recommend that all healthcare organizations that were disrupted or are potentially exposed by this incident consider disconnection from Optum until it is independently deemed safe to reconnect to Optum," the association said.

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