Hospitals Report Significant Disruptions in Service Due to Change Healthcare Cyberattack

March 18, 2024
An AHA survey reports that nearly 3/4ths of hospitals polled have faced direct patient care impact as a result of the breach

A new survey reveals significant disruptions in patient care and hospitals’ finances as a result of the Change Healthcare cyberattack that began on Feb. 21.

Change Healthcare “processes 15 billion healthcare transactions annually and touches 1 in every 3 patient records. These transactions include a range of services that directly affect patient care, including eligibility verifications and pharmacy operations, as well as claims transmittals and payment. Since this attack, patients have struggled to get timely access to care and billions of dollars have stopped flowing to providers, thereby threatening the financial viability of hospitals, health systems, physician offices and other providers.”

On March 15, we reported that HHS had issued a letter addressing the cyberattack, in which it announced that it would be investigating the incident to determine whether a breach of protected health information occurred. Now, the American Hospital Association has released results from a survey that encompasses nearly 1,000 hospitals, collected from between March 9 and March 12.

In total, 74% of hospitals surveyed reported “direct patient care impact,” with nearly 40% reporting “patients having difficulty accessing care because of delays in processing of health plan utilization requirements (e.g. prior authorization).” 94% of hospitals report a financial impact, with 82% reporting “impacts on their cash flow.” Of that 82%, more than 33% report “impact to more than half of their revenue,” nearly 60% report that “the impacts to revenue [are] $1 million per day or greater;” 44% report “they expect the negative impact on revenue to continue for 2-4 more months;” and more than 20% report they are “currently uncertain of the magnitude of the impacts.”

67% of hospitals are reporting that “it is ‘difficult or very difficult’ to switch clearinghouses,” and 81% have found implemented workarounds to “be only somewhat successful, while an additional 11% have not found them to be successful.”

The AHA has the release.