Change Healthcare Outage: Cybersecurity

Optum Hack AlertThis week, Optum, Inc. identified an issue with its Change Healthcare services, an outage that left “some applications” unavailable. This quickly escalated to “enterprise-wide connectivity issues” and a network interruption, which was related to a cybersecurity issue.

“Cybersecurity Threat Actor”

UnitedHealth Group, which owns Optum and Change Healthcare, announced in a Change Healthcare Cyberattackfiling on Thursday, Feb. 22nd, that a “suspected nation-state associated cybersecurity threat actor” had gained access to Change Healthcare’s IT systems the day before. UnitedHealth is working with law enforcement and has retained security experts to assist with this cyberattack.

Change Healthcare’s status page notes that their systems have been disconnected to prevent further impact, but the disruption, already into its third day, is expected to last at least through Friday, February 23rd. (UPDATE: Change Healthcare is still down as of Tuesday, February 27th, with no ETA yet.) The clearinghouse outage is nationwide and affecting one of the largest processors of healthcare transactions, including claim submissions, electronic remittance advices (ERAs), patient statements, and patient eligibility verification. Optum has implemented a Temporary Funding Assistance Program to “help bridge the gap in short-term cash flow needs for providers impacted by the disruption of Change Healthcare’s services.” You can learn more here.

Change Healthcare Cyberattack Affecting Pharmacies

In addition to healthcare services being disrupted at many facilities aroundChange Healthcare Hack Update the nation, CVS Health, Walgreens, and other pharmacies have noted that, as a result of the hack, “in certain cases” prescriptions were being affected by the inability to check eligibility or copayment amounts. A representative of the American Hospital Association posted to LinkedIn advising its member hospitals and other healthcare providers to disconnect from Optum and Change Healthcare systems.

The FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have not commented on the ongoing issue. In spite of the outage, UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) shares were up 0.9% at $526.50 on Friday morning.

Change Healthcare Alternatives

In response to the ongoing outage and cybersecurity concerns with Change Healthcare, we recommend considering eMEDIX as a reliable and secure alternative for healthcare transaction processing. eMEDIX offers seamless integration with major EHR systems like MEDISOFT, LYTEC, and APRIMA, ensuring minimal disruption to your operations.

Its robust security measures and efficient processing capabilities make it an ideal choice to maintain continuity in healthcare billing, claim submissions, and eligibility verifications during this critical time. Transitioning to eMEDIX can help safeguard your operations against current and future disruptions, ensuring your healthcare services remain uninterrupted. Click here to contact us.