Hacked health care giant makes progress in recovery, but concerns for small clinics remain

Hacked health care giant makes progress in recovery, but concerns for small clinics remain - Business and Finance - News

Supporting Small Health Clinics Amidst the Aftermath of the Unprecedented Cyberattack on Change Healthcare

The United States health insurance billing system is gradually recovering from an unprecedented cyberattack that affected a major billing company last month. According to senior Biden administration officials, over 95% of Change Healthcare’s health insurance claims are now being processed following the February 21 hack. However, smaller healthcare clinics, particularly rural safety net providers, may still require assistance to maintain their business operations.

In an update on the federal response to the hack, a senior administration official reported that 99% of Change Healthcare’s pharmacy network services are back contact. The company is proceeding with payer implementations, and medical claims preparation software will be released to thousands of customers in the coming days. This represents an important step towards resuming services for their clients.

Despite these developments, the financial impact of the cyberattack is still unclear. Officially, US authorities do not have access to the exact data regarding the financial losses incurred by healthcare providers due to the disruption of billing services. The American Hospital Association (AHA), which represents thousands of hospitals across the country, reported that ‘billions of dollars’ in funds were halted during this period.

The consequences of the cyberattack have been felt acutely by patients trying to obtain prescriptions and healthcare providers attempting to manage their practices. News Finder interviewed a woman in Colorado who paid an additional $1,600 out-of-pocket for Paxlovid because her insurance could not be billed. Similarly, the chief financial officer of a cancer-treatment clinic in Oregon expressed concerns about having to close her doors due to the financial strain caused by the disruption.

During meetings over the past week, senior White House and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials have emphasized the importance of clear communication regarding available financing options for healthcare providers during this disruption.

Moreover, HHS has initiated an investigation into whether Change Healthcare complied with federal law regarding the protection of patient data. The pressure on the hacked US healthcare firm will not subside with the restoration of billing services, as they continue to face regulatory scrutiny and potential legal consequences.

While larger healthcare organizations are gradually returning to normalcy, the smaller clinics remain vulnerable, underscoring the need for continued support and resources to prevent potential business closures and maintain access to vital healthcare services.