CMS Assists Providers After Change Healthcare Cyber-Attack

March 6, 2024
HHS announces steps CMS is taking to address the financial stress healthcare systems experience in the fallout of ransomware attack on Change Healthcare

On Tuesday, March 5, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are taking action to alleviate the financial stress healthcare systems are experiencing in the fallout of a cyber-attack on Change Healthcare.

HHS is urging Medicare providers to change clearinghouses for claims processing during the outages. According to the statement, providers “should contact their Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) to request a new electronic data interchange (EDI) enrollment for the switch….CMS has instructed the MACs to expedite this process and move all provider and facility requests into production and ready to bill claims quickly.”

Furthermore, CMS is encouraging Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations and Part D sponsors to remove or relax prior authorization and offer advance funding for impacted providers. CMS has contacted MACs to ensure they are prepared to accept paper claims.

Meanwhile, Change Healthcare reported on March 1 through its incident tracker that it launched a new instance of Change Healthcare’s Rx ePrescribing service. Additionally, a temporary funding assistance program was created for impacted payers.

While pharmacies are reporting some improvements, NPR’s cyber security correspondent Jenna McLaughlin has reported that some patients have been paying the full price for their medications, as doctors haven’t been able to bill their insurers.

Change Healthcare first reported the cyber-attack on Feb. 21. On Feb. 29, the company's incident tracker reported that the ransomware group Blackcat was behind the attack. HHS underscores the necessity for healthcare systems to double down on cyber security, make their systems more resilient, and have backup plans in place.

This is a developing story. Healthcare Innovation will continue to update its readers on ongoing developments.

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