Skip to main content
Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

Ransomware update: Ascension can’t fill prescriptions at its Michigan pharmacies

Ascension St. John sign
The ransomware attack at Ascension, which operates 15 Michigan hospitals, has hobbled the health care giant for more than a week now. (Bridge photo by Brayan Gutierrez)
  • A cyberattack at one of the nation’s largest hospital chains enters a second week with no end in sight
  • The latest: The chain can no longer fill prescriptions
  • The attack has been linked, according to a CNN report, to Black Basta, a ‘threat group’ known for its extortion tactics

June 4: Ascension Michigan pharmacies can fill drug scripts now, data crisis lingers

The health care giant Ascension continues to maintain that its hospitals, doctors offices, and other sites remain “open and operational,” but it’s clear that the St. Louis-based Catholic health-care giant remains deep in crisis.

The latest: It can no longer fill prescriptions.

“Please ask your doctor to send your prescription to a different pharmacy while we work to get our systems back online,” Ascension directed its patients in its latest online update.

“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.”


The problems began last week when the St. Louis-based hospital system, which operates 15 Michigan hospitals, “detected unusual activity on select technology network systems.” Ascension acknowledged the “cybersecurity event” the following day, then later that same day referred to it as a “cybersecurity incident.” On Saturday, it confirmed the incident was an act of “ransomware” and said it is in “close contact” with the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). 


Citing unnamed sources, CNN said the type of ransomware used is known as Black Basta, which is also the name of a group that, according to a 2023 alert from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is known for its “double extortion attack.”

On Friday, the FBI and other federal organizations released a joint statement “to provide information on Black Basta, a ransomware variant whose actors have encrypted and stolen data from at least 12 out of 16 critical infrastructure sectors, including the Healthcare and Public Health (HPH) Sector.” However, the statement did not name Ascension.

The Catholic health system has not made staff available to comment,  offering updates instead through a webpage that offers national cyberattack information as well as a webpage specific to its Michigan sites.

The attack has cut off access to the system’s electronic health records system, disrupted phones as well as scheduling and testing processes, and forced the rerouting of at least some Michigan patients to non-Ascension hospitals. 

Monday, Ascension said its pharmacies can no longer take credit cards, and it acknowledged its dependence now on “manual and paper based systems.” 


Ascension has warned of “longer than usual wait times and some delays,” and it continues to direct patients to “bring notes on symptoms and a list of current medications, including prescription numbers or bottles.”

Patients are expected to keep their appointments, although some non-emergency procedures, tests and appointments have been suspended. 

“If appointments need to be rescheduled, an Ascension associate will contact patients directly,” according to the webpage.

At the same time as it faces the ransomware attack, Ascension is juggling a looming labor strike at Ascension Genesys. Teamsters Local 332 in Flint has given notice of its intent to strike May 24.

“The union’s sudden decision to strike, for an indefinite period, in the midst of an ongoing cyber event is truly difficult to understand,” the hospital said in a statement. 

A representative from Teamsters could not be immediately reached for comment.

How impactful was this article for you?

Michigan Health Watch

Michigan Health Watch is made possible by generous financial support from:

Please visit the About page for more information, and subscribe to Michigan Health Watch.

Only donate if we've informed you about important Michigan issues

See what new members are saying about why they donated to Bridge Michigan:

  • “In order for this information to be accurate and unbiased it must be underwritten by its readers, not by special interests.” - Larry S.
  • “Not many other media sources report on the topics Bridge does.” - Susan B.
  • “Your journalism is outstanding and rare these days.” - Mark S.

If you want to ensure the future of nonpartisan, nonprofit Michigan journalism, please become a member today. You, too, will be asked why you donated and maybe we'll feature your quote next time!

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Pay with PayPal Donate Now