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Change Healthcare rolls out new e-prescription service and financing program as cyberattack continues

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In this photo illustration the UnitedHealth Group Inc logo seen displayed on a tablet.

Igor Golovniov | Sopa Images | Light flare | Getty Images

Change Healthcare announced Friday that it has finalized the implementation of a new electronic prescribing service, which could help provide some relief to pharmacies and doctors struggling to deal with the fallout from the ongoing cyberattack.

UnitedHealth GroupChange Healthcare’s parent company, is also launching a temporary financing assistance program to help providers manage their “near-term” cash flow needs, the company said.

UnitedHealth discovered that a cyberthreat actor had breached part of the unit’s computer network on Feb. 21, according to an SEC filing. UnitedHealth isolated and disconnected affected systems “immediately upon detection” of the threat, the filing said, which has since caused impacts across the health care system.

Change Healthcare offers payment and revenue cycle management tools that help transact between providers and most major insurance companies. It also offers electronic prescription software.

In an update Friday, Change Healthcare said it has successfully tested a new version of its “Rx ePrescribe service” with providers and retail pharmacy partners. The service was activated for all customers starting at 2 p.m. ET on Friday, although the company added that its existing Clinical Exchange e-prescription provider tools are still not working.

UnitedHealth also launched a website Friday with information about Change Healthcare’s response to the attack. On the site, UnitedHealth announced a temporary financing assistance program to help providers whose payment distribution has been interrupted.

The company said the program will not incur any fees, interest or other associated costs, and the funds must be repaid when normal operations resume. Providers can check their eligibility using a link through the new website.

“We understand the urgency to resume payment operations and continue the flow of payments across the healthcare ecosystem,” UnitedHealth said on the site.

The company added that the program is not intended for claimants who are experiencing disruptions in submitting their claims. UnitedHealth recommends using manual workarounds for claims and said it works to address the 15% of claims that workarounds cannot handle.

UnitedHealth said Monday evening that more than 90% of pharmacies nationwide have implemented modified workarounds for electronic claims processing, while the rest have implemented offline processing systems. On Friday, the company said its data suggested pharmaceutical claims were “surging at near-normal levels,” according to the new website.

Many of the company’s systems have been down for 10 days straight.

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