Since April 27th, French postal service company, La Poste, has temporarily suspended external access to its messaging service. This has impacted more than 20,000 health professionals who rely on the service to communicate reimbursements to Social Security.
Healthcare in France works on a reimbursement system – you pay the doctor or pharmacist upfront and then some or all of the cost is reimbursed directly into your bank account using your carte vitale health card.
Usually the reimbursement takes just a few days, but the suspension of the La Poste messaging service means that requests for reimbursement have not been getting through.
So far La Poste has not provided a date for full restoration of its services, although it says it hopes for a partial restoration by next week.
After noticing that cybercriminals were trying to access it, the organisation temporarily deactivated access to its external platforms, including for the tens of thousands of people who use @laposte.net e-mail address.
When trying to send electronic forms, healthcare workers are instead met with error messages. There is also a paper form which can be used instead, but the electronic version typically shortens the wait for reimbursements.
Patients who are waiting for reimbursements do not need to take any action, but should be aware that the reimbursement might take longer than normal.
La Poste has confirmed the problem, saying “this measure has been taken for security reasons” and that it will be “for an indefinite period.” They asked that users access their accounts by going directly through La Poste’s website or its downloadable application.
Bonjour, vous pouvez toujours accéder à votre messagerie via votre navigateur habituel : https://t.co/SeEtazKfcI ou par l’appli https://t.co/cIYJqUi9gu. Veuillez nous excuser pour ce désagrément temporaire. Bon après-midi. Lisa
— La Poste (@lisalaposte) May 5, 2022
La Poste also says it is “aware of the particular difficulties encountered by health professionals” and assures users that they are prioritising the restoration of services for them specifically.
They hope to see a gradual restoration of services from next Monday, but full restoration will take several days.
So far, La Poste has not reported any successful hacks or data leaks to French data protection agency, CNIL.