CHICAGO — As the cyber-takedown of Change Healthcare has forced medical practices to go without revenue for a twelfth day, the American Medical Association (AMA) urged U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra to use all its available authorities to ensure that physician practices can continue to function, and patients can continue to receive the care that they need.

An AMA letter (PDF) sent to Secretary Becerra outlines ongoing concerns of physicians amidst the cybersecurity incident that has impacted Change Healthcare and the unprecedented disruptions that have severely hampered physicians’ ability to care for patients.

“This massive breach and its wide-ranging repercussions have hit physician practices across the country, risking patients’ access to their doctors and straining viability of medical practices themselves,” said AMA President Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D., M.P.H. “Against the backdrop of persistent Medicare cuts, rising practice costs and spiraling regulatory burdens, this unparalleled cyberattack and disruption threatens the viability of many practices, particularly small practices and those in rural and underserved areas. This is an immense crisis demanding immediate attention.”

According to an estimate from First Health Advisory, a digital health risk assurance firm, the outage is costing health care providers over $100 million daily, posing severe financial challenges for medical practices already strained for liquidity.

Given the combined financial impact of the Change Healthcare hack and Medicare payment cuts to physicians, the AMA urged HHS “to utilize any available emergency funds and authorities to provide critical financial resources to physicians, ensuring they can continue to deliver essential health care services during these challenging times.”

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About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.