April 19, 2024

Survey assesses continued impact of Change Healthcare cyberattack

Editor's Note

Fallout from the February 21 cyberattack on Change Healthcare continues to threaten physician practices and their patients nationwide, with respondents to a recent American Medical Association (AMA) survey indicating difficulties with insurance claims and eligibility verification.

AMA published the results of the informal survey April 10. Conducted March 26 to April 3, the survey found multiple examples of restricted functionality since the cyberattack, with 36% of respondents reporting suspension in claim payment; 32% being unable to submit claims; and 22% being unable to verify eligibility for benefits. “Practices of 10 physicians or less appear to be particularly hard hit,” AMA reports, noting that these practices represent 1,097 (78%) of 1,400 total respondents.  

Other survey findings include:

  • 44% were unable to purchase supplies.
  • 31% were unable to make payroll.
  • 80% of respondents report using personal funds to cover practice expenses.
  • Despite challenges, only 15% of practices have reduced hours.
  • Many respondents have taken advantage of assistance, including from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (12%), state Medicaid plans (0.7%), UnitedHealth Group/Optum (25%), and other health plans (4.5%).

“These survey data show, in stark terms, that practices will close because of this incident, and patients will lose access to their physicians,” says AMA President Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D., MPH. “The one-two punch of compounding Medicare cuts and inability to process claims as a result of this attack is devastating to physician practices that are already struggling to keep their doors open.”

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