The doctor is out (getting a loan)

I've mentioned a few times all the health care issues facing Portlanders these days. There are so many of them. 

Here we have a city where you can't get an ambulance, you can't get elective surgery because there are no anesthesiologists, drug addicts are O.D.'ing and dying on the streets in record numbers, the bad boys at the medical school are taking over the clinics and hospitals (eliminating protections against malpractice in the process)...

Well, now you can add another one to the list:

Desperate patients around the country have been forced to choose between paying out of pocket for essential medications or forgoing them entirely as the aftermath of a cyberattack on a major health care company stretches into its third week. 

Change Healthcare, a little-known but critical subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, detected the attack on Feb. 21. Since then, pharmacies, doctors offices and patients say their lives and work have been upended by widespread outages in systems commonly used for medical billing and insurance claims. 

According to the story in the O (behind the Paywall of Pity, alas), the problems are as acute here in Oregon as anywhere. Many doctors aren't getting paid. Some of them can't make their payrolls. Patients can't get their prescriptions.

Not to mention the extremely sensitive patient personal information that may now be in the hands of bad guys. The trouble has likely just begun.

I see that the new head of the Oregon health department is still on a lovely getting-to-know-you tour throughout the state. When she finally sits down at her desk, and before she gets too busy handing out free refrigerators to ex-cons, she and her counterparts in other states might want to figure out how the data breach happened, and how to prevent it from happening again. Obviously, the insurers aren't up to the task.


  1. Word on the street is United Healthcare paid a $20M+ ransom to the pirates who just took the money and split without restoring access. It's only going to get worse.

  2. It’s sad that the head of any important Oregon state department has more talent in posing for the media than the management skills needed to run the department

    1. It was obvious from her resume when her appointment was announced that she was and is a lightweight political hack. Perfect sidekick for Kotek's takeover of the state.

    2. Returning OHA to Oregon Health Department would be a step in the right direction.

  3. Doctor I don't feel well. I've got this terrible Hack, Hack...


    Bummer about that cyber-attack that we're in no hurry to fix. Looks like you're going bankrupt because of it! How about we come in and just take over your practice?

    This is Godfather-level stuff.


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