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Federal Government: UnitedHealth, Payors Must ‘Meet the Moment’ to Support Hospitals

March 11, 2024

The federal government is calling on UnitedHealth Group and the payor community to support hospitals, physicians, pharmacists, and other health care providers following the Change Healthcare cyberattack.

In a joint letter yesterday, leaders from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor said providers are working to provide care while facing “onerous workarounds and cash flow uncertainty.” The departments called on everyone to “meet the moment.”

In a situation such as this, the government and private sector must work together to help providers make payroll and deliver timely care to the American people,” the letter said.

In its letter, the federal agencies call on UHG to:

  • Take responsibility to ensure no provider is compromised by their cash flow challenges stemming from this cyberattack on Change Healthcare.
  • Ensure expedited delivery of funds to impacted providers for all receiving advanced payment from UnitedHealth Care.
  • Communicate more frequently and more transparently, both within the health care community and with state Medicaid agencies.
  • Ensure ease of access to UHG programs, both by providing less restrictive terms and by addressing providers’ concerns regarding indemnification and arbitration requirements.
  • Provide Medicaid agencies with a list of providers impacted in their states.
  • Expedite activation and ensure effectiveness of all programs UHG announces to serve as a financial backstop, and prioritize under-resourced, lower margin providers

​​​​​​​"Specifically, we call on UHG, other insurance companies, clearinghouses, and health care entities to take additional actions to mitigate the harms this attack places on patients and providers, particularly our safety net providers," the letter said.

HHS also encourages all insurance companies to make interim payments to affected providers, ease administrative burdens, and use leeway on deadlines/pause other utilization management requirements.

Over the weekend, CMS also announced it would consider applications for accelerated payments for Medicare Part A providers and advance payments for Part B suppliers. Additional information was included in a CMS fact sheet.

HAP continues to update the hospital community with the latest information stemming from the Change Healthcare cyberattack. Last week, HAP launched a “one-stop-shop” resource center for hospitals to provide the latest updates from insurers and state and federal regulatory agencies, along with other member-only resources (login required).

For questions or feedback about payment issues stemming from the Change Healthcare cyberattack, contact Jolene Calla, Esquire, vice president, hospital finance and legal affairs.