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HHS acts to help providers affected by Change Healthcare outage

In response to the Change Healthcare ransomware attack, HHS (U.S. Health and Human Services Department) said it would relax certain requirements for Medicare prescriptions and consider advance payments for struggling health care facilities.

In a statement issued Tuesday, HHS said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would assist health care providers with switching clearinghouses, issue guidance to Medicare Advantage and Part D providers that encourages them to relax prior authorization requirements, and recommended the same for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program providers.

The department also said that it will allow requests for accelerated payments, similar to those issued during the Covid-19 pandemic, from health care organizations, and that these should be submitted to Medicare Administrative Contractors for individual consideration.

The cyberattack forced the shutdown of more than 100 systems at Change Healthcare. The downed systems — which include the largest U.S. clearinghouse for medical insurance billings and payments — brought insurance payments and other services to a halt for hospitals, pharmacies, clinics, and other health care providers. Many of these organizations have not taken in any revenue since the attack occurred on February 21.

Read the HHS statement.