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HHS Urges Quick ID and Implementation of Solutions to Change Healthcare Ransomware Debacle | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


Losses experienced by the U.S. healthcare system as a result of the ransomware attack are estimated to be anywhere from $100 million to $1 billion per day.

Image via Adobe, by sebra

U.S. healthcare providers continue to experience massive revenue losses due to last month’s ransomware attack on Change Healthcare. WBUR reports that the Massachusetts healthcare system is losing about $24 million per day, while First Health Advisory told CBS News that the attack could be costing U.S. healthcare providers $100 million per day. Those figures, although massive, pale compared to Axios’ estimate of $1 billion in losses per day.

Change Healthcare is a technology company owned by UnitedHealth Group (UHG) that processes insurance claims and other critical hospital functions experienced

In response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and U.S. Department of Labor Acting Secretary Julie A. Su sent a letter to U.S healthcare leaders on Sunday, saying the government and private sector must work together to help healthcare providers make payroll and deliver medical care.

“We urge the private sector to quickly identify and carry out solutions,” the letter said.

Specifically, the letter called on UHG, “other insurance companies, clearinghouses, and health care entities to take additional actions to mitigate the harms this attack places on patients and providers, particularly our safety net providers.”

HHS is urging UnitedHealth to:

  • Take responsibility to ensure no provider is compromised by their cash flow challenges stemming from this cyberattack on Change Healthcare.
  • Ensure expedited delivery of funds to impacted providers for all receiving advanced payment from UnitedHealth Care.
  • Communicate more frequently and more transparently, both within the health care community and with state Medicaid agencies.
  • Ensure ease of access to UHG programs, both by providing less restrictive terms and by addressing providers’ concerns regarding indemnification and arbitration requirements.
  • Provide Medicaid agencies with a list of providers impacted in their states.
  • Expedite activation and ensure effectiveness of all programs UHG announces to serve as a financial backstop, and prioritize under-resourced, lower margin providers.

The agency is also urging insurance companies and other payers to:

  • Make interim payments to impacted providers. Larger payers in particular have the balance sheet stability to advance payments. Payers have the opportunity to stop-gap the cash flow concerns by stepping in with bridge payments.
  • In particular, for Medicaid plans, consider making interim payments to impacted providers.
  • Ease the administrative burden on providers by simplifying electronic data interchange requirements and timelines and by accepting paper claims.
  • Pause prior authorizations and other utilization management requirements; use all available leeway on deadlines.

Read the letter. 

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About the Author

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Robin Hattersley, Editor-in-Chief

Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.



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