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UnitedHealth Group paid providers more than $2 billion following cyberattack

UnitedHealth Group Inc. is headquartered in Minnetonka, Minnesota, United States

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UnitedHealth Group said Monday it has disbursed more than $2 billion to help health care providers affected by the cyberattack on its subsidiary Change Healthcare.

“We continue to make significant progress in restoring services impacted by this cyberattack,” Andrew Witty, CEO of UnitedHealth, said in a press release. “We know this presents a huge challenge for healthcare providers and we encourage anyone who needs it to contact us.”

UnitedHealth revealed nearly a month ago that a cyberthreat actor had breached part of Change Healthcare’s computer network. The consequences have wreaked havoc on the American health care system. Change Healthcare offers electronic prescribing software and payment management tools, so the interruptions have prevented many providers from temporarily prescribing their medications or getting reimbursed for their services by insurers.

UnitedHealth, which provides care to 152 million people, announced Monday that it has begun rolling out medical claims preparation software, which will be available to thousands of customers in the coming days. The company called this “an important step in the resumption of services.”

On Friday, UnitedHealth announced that it had reinstated Change Healthcare’s electronic payment platform, after restarting 99% of its pharmacy network services earlier this month. He also introduced a temporary financial aid program to help healthcare providers facing cash flow problems due to the attack.

UnitedHealth said the advances will not need to be repaid until claims flows return to normal. Federal agencies such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have introduced additional options to ensure states and other stakeholders can make interim payments to providers, according to a release.

A survey released Friday by the American Hospital Association found that 94% of hospitals experienced financial disruption as a result of the Change Healthcare attack. More than 60% of 1,000 hospitals surveyed estimate the revenue hit is about $1 million per day. Responses were collected between March 9 and 12.

“We continue to call on Congress and the administration to take additional steps now to support providers as they deal with the significant fallout from this historic attack,” AHA CEO Rick Pollack said. in the press release.

The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it had opened an investigation into the company due to the “unprecedented scale of the cyberattack.”

The investigation is being conducted by the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. OCR enforces the security, privacy, and breach notification rules of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which most health plans, providers, and clearinghouses are required to follow to protect health insurance information. health.

UnitedHealth did not disclose what type of data was compromised in the attack, or whether it cooperated with the cyberthreat actor to restore systems. The company said it was working closely with law enforcement and third parties such as Palo Alto Networks and Google Cloud’s Mandiant to assess the breach.

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