Universal Health Services Suffer $67M in Losses

November 23, 2021

In a recent report released by Universal Health Services, the Fortune 500 hospital network is facing severe costs in damages. This comes after the September 2020 ransomware attack that led to a network shutdown throughout the health system’s U.S. facilities. Universal Health Services (UHS) reported an estimated pre-tax “unfavorable impact” of $67M and attributes most of this to the fact that during and after the time of the attack, there was decreased patient activity, resulting in lost operating income.

In the wake of the ransomware attack, certain activities including ambulance traffic and elective/scheduled procedures at the hospital network’s acute-care facilities were diverted to competitor facilities. In addition, UHS had to incur “significant incremental labor expense, both internal and external, to restore information technology as expeditiously as possible.”

UHS operates 400 facilities throughout the US and overseas. The massive cyberattack hit last September and extended to the following month, too, resulting in the company reporting losses of $55 million pre-tax during the last quarter of 2020. The organization was forced to suspend IT operations and deliver healthcare using backup processes, including offline documentation with pen and paper.

To make matters worse, crucial administration functions such as billing and coding were delayed into December 2020, negatively impacting cash flows during the last quarter of the year.

While UHS did not mention the kind of attack it suffered, reports allege the Ryuk Ransomware to be the culprit. However, reports do not state any losses borne from a paid ransom. UHS also did not disclose how the attack occurred, but said it was due to “an IT issue”.

With healthcare organizations being the prime target of cyberattacks, investing in defense is often worth the potential financial losses that can result from being a victim. Hospitals in particular can face damages that extend beyond financial losses – such as lawsuits, diverting patients in need of critical care to locations that are further away, loss of patient and employee data, and more. Here are some alarming statistics on ransomware in the healthcare industry.

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