UnitedHealth Cyberattack Fallout: American Medical Association Urges Biden Administration for Emergency Funds To Address Physicians' Cash Flow Woes

Zinger Key Points
  • The American Hospital Association criticized UnitedHealth's efforts to restore financial systems after the cyberattack.
  • AMA CEO sent a letter to the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, to provide critical financial resources for physicians.

In response to the recent cyberattack on UnitedHealthGroup Inc’s UNH Change Healthcare unit, the American Medical Association (AMA) has called upon the Biden Administration to release emergency funds to support physicians grappling with the aftermath

Hackers affiliated with the ‘Blackcat’ ransomware gang were responsible for the ongoing outage at UnitedHealth’s technology unit, causing significant disruptions to prescription deliveries for the past six days.

AMA Chief Executive James Madara penned a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, urging the utilization of available emergency funds and authorities to provide critical financial resources for physicians. 

Expressing concern about the impact on the small, safety net, and rural practices, AMA President Jesse Ehrenfeld highlighted the vulnerability of practices dependent on timely claims payments for financial stability.

Reuters noted that HHS and AMA are collaboratively assessing measures to alleviate the cash flow problems physicians are facing. 

Senator Charles Schumer has also joined the call for action, writing to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, urging the acceleration of payments to affected hospitals, pharmacies, and providers. 

Schumer emphasized the immediate and intensifying adverse impact on their cash flow and financial solvency.

Meanwhile, the American Hospital Association (AHA) criticized UnitedHealth’s efforts to restore financial systems after the cyberattack. 

In a letter addressed to UnitedHealth, AHA’s Richard Pollack characterized the temporary assistance program initiated by the company as inadequate and “not even a band-aid” for the payment problems caused by the hack. Pollack also deemed the terms of the program “shockingly onerous.”

In response to the cyber incident, Change Healthcare has activated a new version of its ePrescribing service for all customers. 

Additionally, UnitedHealth announced a short-term funding program to assist providers who are unable to receive payment due to the cyberattack.

Price Action: UNH shares are down 1.90% at $472.71 on the last check Tuesday.

Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of AI tools and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

Photo: B_A from Pixabay

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