Not just hospitals, pharmacies: Change Healthcare hack hits physician practices hard

It's not just hospitals and pharmacies that have been disrupted by the cyberattack on Optum's Change Healthcare — physician practices have been hit hard too.

Medical groups have been facing billing and cash flow problems since the Feb. 21 hack of the payment processing company, putting smaller practices at risk of closing if the outage goes on much longer, according to the Medical Group Management Association. Change Healthcare confirmed Feb. 29 that a ransomware gang is behind the attack.

Some medical practices have been unable to send claims or receive payments, submit prior authorizations and check patient insurance eligibility during the outage, MGMA said in the Feb. 28 letter to HHS asking for guidance and financial resources. The physician groups have also been dealing with interruptions from prescription processing and other health IT programs that Change handles.

"Most practices (especially those outside of health systems) have a line of credit, but many don't carry reserves from year to year given their tax status," the association wrote. "Credit is essential at the beginning of the year before practices are able to accrue enough revenue to pay salaries and expenses. The timing could not be worse."

Change Healthcare intends to launch an interim payment portal for medical groups, the American Medical Association reported Feb. 29. In the meantime, the AMA recommends that practices contact payers directly about instituting workarounds that circumvent the Change Healthcare applications that are still offline.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars