Healthcare facilities on edge after Change cyberattack

Practice Management

The healthcare world was shaken by news of revenue cycle management services provider Change Healthcare's Feb. 21 "cybersecurity incident" that caused rifts in connectivity nationwide. 

Change, which is part of Optum and owned by UnitedHealth Group, initially reported "enterprise-wide connectivity issues" and began investigating the issue. The investigation is ongoing as of the afternoon of Feb. 23. 

"We are working on multiple approaches to restore the impacted environment and will not take any shortcuts or take any additional risk as we bring our systems back online," according to a post on Optum's website from 2:20 p.m. EST on Feb. 23. "We will continue to be proactive and aggressive with all our systems and if we suspect any issue with the system, we will immediately take action and disconnect."

Some of the largest hospitals and health systems disconnected from Change out of caution. For instance Geisinger, which has 59 orthopedic physicians and providers, cut its service with Change. And the American Hospital Association warned all hospitals and health systems to disconnect from Change Healthcare systems.

Change Healthcare told The Wall Street Journal more than 100 of its systems are affected.

Along with large systems, Change Healthcare has supported private practices. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Change Healthcare's tools helped Lexington, Ky.-based Bluegrass Orthopaedics manage patient information digitally, according to a company feature.

Cyberattacks have also been a concern for several orthopedic practices in recent months. In January alone, Becker's reported about four orthopedic data breaches publicized by practices.

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