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Michigan Pharmacies Can’t Fill Prescriptions Due to Cyber Attack

The ransomware attack May 8 on Ascension, one of the largest health systems in the country, has impacted its medical facilities nationwide. The company’s Michigan entity announced the service disruption to its pharmacies Wednesday.

A man reads the writing on a prescription bottle.
(TNS) — Ascension Rx retail pharmacies in Michigan cannot fill prescriptions, the result of a May 8 ransomware attack.

Ascension Michigan announced the latest disruption in service in a release issued Wednesday, May 15.

"Please ask your doctor to send your prescription to a different pharmacy while we work to get our systems back online," the release said.

"If you can't get your medicine from another pharmacy and you're running out, call your local Ascension Rx retail pharmacy for help. Our pharmacies may be able to give you a short-term supply using your current prescription bottle."

Earlier, Ascension Michigan said its pharmacies could fill prescriptions Ascension but asked patients to bring their prescription bottles. They were not able to accept credit cards.

A ransomware attack occurs when an unauthorized party gains access to an organization's cyber network.

Ascension operates numerous pharmacies in southeast Michigan; most are in or near its hospitals and other facilities.

Ascension, a national health care organization, said the attack resulted in hiccups nationwide.

Ascension Michigan operates eight hospitals in the Detroit area, located in Novi, Rochester Hills, Southfield, Madison Heights, Warren, Detroit, East China Township and Grand Blanc.

The attack resulted in some reliance on manual and paper-based patient documentation and records, which remains in effect in some cases.

All 15 Michigan hospitals and physician offices and care sites across the state remain open, but the attack is still creating intermittent hiccups at some emergency departments, physician offices, diagnostic testing sites and more.

Because of the reliance on manual or paper systems in some cases, Ascension asks patients to bring notes on their symptoms and a list of prescriptions they take or their prescription bottles to doctor appointments and elective surgeries.

In most cases, appointments are held as scheduled. Ascension will notify patients if they have to reschedule.

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Ascension has not said when all systems will be back to normal.

Ascension said it has not determined whether patients' personal information was compromised and an investigation is continuing, with the help of the FBI.

Ascension said affected patients would be notified if their information was affected.

The attack came as a joint venture with Henry Ford Health is underway that would bring the eight southeast Michigan Ascension hospitals and an addiction treatment facility in Brighton into the Henry Ford family.

The joint venture, announced last fall, will be branded Henry Ford Health. It is not a merger or acquisition.

The two health care companies said last fall that they expect to close the venture in summer 2024.

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