NewsAs cyber attack puts physician practices at risk, AMA calls for action

As cyber attack puts physician practices at risk, AMA calls for action

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CHICAGO — The prolonged cyber-attack on Change Healthcare, now entering its twelfth day, has left medical practices grappling with a significant revenue loss. The American Medical Association (AMA) has issued a plea to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, urging him to leverage all available authorities to safeguard the functioning of physician practices and ensure uninterrupted patient care.

In an official letter (PDF) addressed to Secretary Becerra, the AMA highlights the persistent concerns of physicians in the wake of the cybersecurity incident affecting Change Healthcare. The unprecedented disruptions caused by the attack have severely impeded physicians’ capacity to provide essential care to their patients.

AMA President Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D., M.P.H., expressed the gravity of the situation, stating, “This massive breach and its wide-ranging repercussions have hit physician practices across the country, risking patients’ access to their doctors and straining the viability of medical practices themselves. 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.”

First Health Advisory, a digital health risk assurance firm, estimates that the ongoing outage is costing healthcare providers over $100 million daily, exacerbating financial challenges for medical practices already grappling with liquidity issues.

Given the cumulative financial impact of the Change Healthcare cyberattack and concurrent Medicare payment cuts to physicians, the AMA has urgently called on 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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