How can providers respond to the cyberattack on Change Healthcare?

In late February, revenue and payment cycle company Change Healthcare was victim to a ransomware attack that has significantly compromised healthcare operations across the US.

Recognizing the severe financial impact of ransomware attacks on providers

Industry experts estimate that the disruptions to revenue cycle processes are costing some healthcare providers more than $100 million a day. The attack has disrupted vital operations, causing significant downtime and hindering the normal flow of transactions. Humana and Elevance Health have reported that they are witnessing a 15% to 20% reduction in claims data from providers since the attack.

In addition to the existing complexities of healthcare reimbursement, providers now face increased financial strain due to delayed payments, operational disruptions, and the costs associated with addressing the cybersecurity breach. The financial impact extends beyond immediate losses, affecting the long-term financial stability of healthcare entities as they navigate the aftermath of the cyberattack. The American Hospital Association (AHA) has even highlighted the threat of many providers being unable to meet payroll due to the financial strain.

While disruptions to providers’ revenue cycles have been profound, effects on related financial operations are also critical. Change Healthcare needed to suspend at least 100 different processes. Many of these processes are vital to everyday operations, like verifying patient insurance eligibility, securing prior authorization for procedures, and exchanging medical records. Data integrity and security are pivotal to these operations but are seriously threatened during cyberattacks. The process disruptions have created significant administrative burdens as providers resort to manual workarounds. Replacing electronic processes with manual alternatives is inefficient and costly. With no other options, providers have had to divert staff from core patient care duties to manage these workarounds.

What to know about how healthcare organizations can move forward

As the healthcare industry works towards coping with the aftermath of the attack and restoring normalcy, there are steps providers can take to mitigate the damage:

  • Vendor selection: Consider vendors that offer automated or alternative entry methods for claims, eligibility, prior authorizations, and medication estimates. This can lessen reliance on a single platform.
  • Payer outreach: Seek guidance from payers on alternative claim submission methods or temporary workarounds.
  • Manual process optimization: While manual workarounds may be necessary in the short term, consider solutions to improve efficiency. Streamlining processes and assigning trained personnel can minimize disruptions.

How can Nordic help?

Nordic understands the challenges posed by the cyberattack. Our Strategic Advisory team can help you navigate this complex situation so that you can help ensure your patients continue to receive the care they need.

  • Advisory support: We can help you navigate payer outreach strategies, vendor selection processes, and optimization of manual efforts.
  • Analysis support: Our team can help you analyze manual replacement efforts and suggest efficiency and productivity improvements.
  • Staff augmentation/backfill: We offer experienced claims and technical resources to assist with your internal efforts.

Together, we can overcome the aftermath of a cyberattack and build a more resilient healthcare system prepared for future challenges.

Topics: featured, Performance Improvement, Advisory Services, cybersecurity, Healthcare

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