How has the Change Healthcare cyberattack affected physicians?

UnitedHealth Group's Change Healthcare reported a cybersecurity issue on Feb. 21 that has disrupted operations for healthcare organizations nationwide.

According to the American Medical Association, the attack has resulted in a $100 million impact to the healthcare industry per day, as claims processing is delayed and practices are unable to get paid for services. Physicians nationwide are feeling the heat from the incident.

"Our e-prescribing for controlled substances went down for a few days, and our MedNow pharmacy continues to have difficulty billing insurances at this time," Christian Zimmerman, MD, a spine surgeon at Boise, Idaho-based Saint Alphonsus Health System, told Becker's. "There wasn't necessarily a security concern for our health system and impacts were mainly surrounding prescriptions, billing and deliverables." 

CMS has stepped in to quell the effect of the incident by creating a program to accelerate payments to Medicare Part A providers and advance payments to Part B providers who were affected.

"This incident should concern all of us in healthcare, as well as our patients," Brian Gantwerker, MD, spine surgeon at the Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles, told Becker's. "Now, if we can just get the people that seemingly have the discretion to make the decisions that place these unconcerned, and from the looks of it, incompetent entities in charge to pay attention — we would be getting somewhere."

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