MGMA Calls on HHS for Financial Support to Aid Medical Groups During Change Cyberattack

by | Mar 4, 2024 | Healthcare Industry News

The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) has urged the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to utilize every available means to mitigate the impacts of the Change Healthcare cyberattack on medical groups in a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. With over 60,000 members representing more than 15,000 group medical practices and over 350,000 physicians, MGMA emphasized the widespread repercussions of the cyber event affecting physician practices nationwide.

The letter from the MGMA urgently emphasized the need for an immediate reestablishment of all Change Healthcare operations, recognizing the healthcare system’s uncertain state following the cyberattack. MGMA provided detailed insights into the challenges faced by medical groups during the past week, shedding light on the distressing consequences reported by its extensive membership. Among these challenges, medical groups encountered substantial disruptions in billing and cash flow, impacting both electronic claims processing and the timely handling of statements. The difficulties extended to obtaining electronic remittance advice from health plans, forcing groups to resort to manual processes. The rejection of prior authorization submissions and the inability to perform eligibility checks for patients further compounded regulatory burdens, presenting a direct threat to patient care. Pharmacies grappled with disruptions, leaving patients with obstacles like self-payment or forgoing important medications due to unverified insurance information. The absence of connectivity to critical data infrastructure needed for success in value-based care arrangements also poses considerable challenges for medical groups striving to maintain service continuity.

In urging the HHS to act decisively, MGMA called upon the authority of HHS to provide comprehensive guidance, financial resources, and enforcement discretion. Emphasizing the urgency of avoiding additional complications for physician practices, MGMA highlighted the important timing of financial support, particularly for those without reserves. The letter acknowledged the diligent efforts of physician groups in implementing workarounds but stressed that existing financial constraints, including ongoing Medicare reimbursement cuts, high inflation, and staffing shortages, could weaken their ability to operate effectively. MGMA emphasized the need for collaboration with HHS to address the ongoing challenges presented by the cyberattack on Change Healthcare. MGMA expressed its anticipation of working closely with HHS to safeguard the operational effectiveness of medical groups as the impact of the cyberattack persists, actively participating in mitigating attempts to weaken the nation’s health system.

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