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Cyberattack on medical tech company with billions of records compromised

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TLDR:

  • UnitedHealth cyberattack disrupts billing and security for hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, and patients.
  • HHS urges immediate action to address administrative problems.

A massive data hack on Change Healthcare, a company owned by UnitedHealth Group, led to disruptions in billing and care authorization systems nationwide. In response, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requested insurers to waive prior authorizations and Medicare contractors to accept paper bills from medical providers. The federal government advised Medicare health plans to remove prior authorization requirements and relax timely filing rules, as well as offer advance funding to impacted providers. HHS also urged hospitals facing cash flow issues to request accelerated payments and switch to a different payment clearinghouse. This cyberattack is part of a larger trend, with a surge in health-related data breaches in recent years, impacting millions of Americans.

The American Medical Association and American Hospital Association have expressed concerns and criticisms regarding the handling of the cyberattack fallout. While HHS’s actions are seen as a positive first step, there is a need for continued support and financial relief for affected medical practices. The ongoing threat of cyberattacks on health providers and vendors underscores the importance of robust cybersecurity measures and preparedness within the healthcare industry.


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