How the Change Healthcare Cyber Attack May Impact Your Practice

By: Steve Kehn

What Happened?

Change Healthcare, which operates the largest clearinghouse for medical claims in the country, was hit with a cyberattack on February 21st. The attack forced Change to disconnect over 100 systems which had an immediate impact on providers. 

Change Healthcare is owned by one the country’s largest insurance providers, UnitedHealth Group

What Could This Mean for You?

The February attack has impacted dental, medical, and pharmaceutical organizations, most significantly their ability to obtain insurance approval, which has led to delays in claims and insurance payments. It’s estimated that providers are losing as much as $100 million per day.

The Department of Health and Human Services will be investigating UnitedHealth Group to see whether a breach of protected health information has occurred. The extent of the cyber attack’s impact on patient data is still unknown.

The American Hospital Association is calling this attack “the most significant and consequential incident of its kind against the U.S. Healthcare system in history.”

What Next?

For dental practices, the ADA is encouraging impacted providers to watch for communication from vendors and payers regarding restoration of services. It’s recommended that impacted providers seek alternate options, including using payer portals or provider service lines for eligibility and benefits verification, asking vendors for alternative clearinghouse options, and carefully tracking claims.

For medical practices, the American Medical Association has stated, “With consideration of the written attestation from UHG that the Optum network is safe, organizations should evaluate their risk of using Optum, UnitedHealthcare and UHG systems” and “While UHG asserts that any system that is currently live and available is safe to use, organizations should evaluate their risks and make determinations if connections to Change Healthcare are appropriate at this time.”

We encourage you to keep up with their reporting of the Change Healthcare cyber outage as they will continue to monitor the situation and provide guidance as more information becomes available.

 

If the Change Healthcare cyber attack has negatively impacted your cash flow, please reach out to Maven Financial Partners for ideas on managing cash flow through this challenging event.