How UnitedHealth's CEO personally supported a physician following cyberattack

As providers nationwide continue to face financial disruptions stemming from the Change Healthcare cyberattack in February, a Florida physician has shared how UnitedHealth Group's CEO, Andrew Witty, personally stepped in to address cash flow challenges.

"My practice was losing money and was likely going out of business. I used personal money last week to make payroll," Chad Frank, DO, wrote on LinkedIn on March 20.

Dr. Frank is the founder and president of the Non-Surgical Center for Physical and Sports Medicine in Plantation, Fla., which uses Change for billing processes. 

"Out of desperation," Dr. Frank sent an email to Mr. Witty detailing his practice's situation, but expecting no response from the leader of the nation's largest healthcare organization still reeling from the most significant cyberattack in U.S. history.

But a response from Mr. Witty came, along with assurance of a solution and a text shortly after from Optum Financial's COO, Jeff Meyerhofer.

According to Dr. Frank, he was set up the same day with Optum Pay and then received an interest-free loan that is to be paid back 45 business days after Change's systems are fully restored. 

"My business will survive and will thrive after this," he wrote. "Behind the veil of a huge corporation lies two individuals at the top who sincerely cared for me."

UnitedHealth Group has advanced more than $2 billion to providers and is launching software for medical claims preparation. The company has restored 99% of pharmacy network services. Change's electronic payments platform was restored March 15, with payer implementations underway. The latest connectivity updates are here.

An American Hospital Association survey of nearly 1,000 hospitals conducted between March 9 and 12 found that 94% of hospitals have felt financial impact from the attack, and more than half have reported a "significant or serious" impact. Seventy-four percent of hospitals reported a direct effect on patient care.

HHS has also called on UnitedHealth to "take responsibility to ensure no provider is compromised by their cash flow challenges" and to expedite the delivery of payments. The government urged the company to communicate about recovery efforts more frequently and with more transparency to both the healthcare system and state Medicaid agencies.  

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