June 19, 2024

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ND Systems faces an uncertain future after health care cyberattack

2 min read

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) – Since the cyberattack on a healthcare processing company, ND Systems, a mental healthcare provider, has faced layoffs from a lack of payment and the loss of their Fairbanks location has become a possibility.

On Feb. 21, Change Healthcare fell victim to a cyberattack. The company oversees services for healthcare providers including the processing of prescriptions and insurance. But since the attack, those services have fallen, impacting providers across the country. The impacts vary but in some cases become very detrimental.

“We have suffered no cashflow,” said Teresa Lyons, the CEO of ND Systems. “It just simply stopped 6 weeks ago,” she said. The loss of that cashflow has disrupted operations for the business and the losses they’ve incurred has resulted in serious consequences. “Last week I had to let half of my clinical staff go,” said Lyons.

Those layoffs are the result of not having the finances flowing in to pay personnel. Five staff members were part of that layoff, four of which worked in Fairbanks and one was in the Kenai Peninsula.

With locations in Fairbanks, Kenai and Anchorage, ND Systems provides mental care across the state and state boundaries. Those distance services are made possible with telehealth technology which is utilized for patients as far away as Washington.

The loss of staff has been extremely impactful for Fairbanks as patients have had to cut ties with ND Systems.

Those services aren’t easy to replace in the Fairbanks area and already suffer from a lack of healthcare; even more so when it comes to mental health services. This has meant a great deal of grief for some patients and in one case, a former patient of ND Systems was temporarily admitted to the psychiatric wing of Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, which lacks the capacity for more patients.

The staff also face hardship as a lack of income threatens their ability to pay for housing and other personal or familial needs.

Working to adapt to the trying times, ND Systems has reverted to hand filling payments when possible which does take longer, but is also susceptible to other issues. Additionally, they have been forward funded by Medicare, but that only accounts for about 11% of their patients. “It’s not enough” Lyons said.

While Change Healthcare continues to work on restoring their services, full restoration is yet to be achieved and the process has been a lengthy one, going on for six weeks, and is expected to last at least another two weeks.

In the meantime, ND Systems estimates that they can only continue operations under these conditions for another six to eight weeks before they would have to close down some or all operations.

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