Advocacy Update

March 8, 2024: Advocacy Update spotlight on Change Healthcare cyberattack


In the wake of the massive impact the Change Healthcare cyberattack is having on physician practices, the AMA is advocating at all levels to find workable solutions to allow practices to maintain financial stability and continue providing timely patient care. 

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced immediate steps on March 5 that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking to assist physicians and other providers to continue to serve patients following the Change Healthcare cybersecurity incident. These new flexibilities from CMS include: 

  • Issuing guidance to Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations and Part D sponsors encouraging them to remove or relax prior authorization, other utilization management and timely filing requirements during these system outages. 
  • Encouraging MA plans to offer advance funding to providers most affected by this cyberattack. 
  • Urging Medicaid and CHIP managed care plans to adopt the same strategies of removing or relaxing prior authorization and utilization management requirements, and consider offering advance funding to providers. 
  • Instructing Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) to expedite the process of Medicare providers needing to change clearinghouses that they use for claims processing during these outages. 

The AMA issued a statement in response to the HHS announcement. 

On March 1, the AMA also sent a letter to HHS (PDF) about its ongoing concerns with the cybersecurity incident and the disruptions in claims processing, eligibility checks, and other impacts on day-to-day practice operations that have severely hampered physicians’ ability to care for patients. As the situation continued deteriorating and physicians awaited further guidance from Change Healthcare, the AMA asked HHS to use all of its available authorities to ensure that physician practices can continue to function, and patients can continue to receive the care that they need, including utilizing any available emergency funds and authorities to provide critical financial resources to physicians.

The AMA also sent a letter (PDF) on March 7 urging CMS to provide financial relief from MIPS penalties for physicians and other clinicians impacted by the Change Healthcare cyberattack.

For the latest updates and resources on the Change Healthcare cyberattack, visit the AMA website

If you would like to share information about experiences stemming from the Change Healthcare cybersecurity incident, please respond to this survey. The AMA will use this information in discussions with the administration and UnitedHealth Group.  

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