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Following Nationwide Healthcare Cyberattack, Leader Schumer Calls On CMS To Provide Relief To Impacted Healthcare Providers And Ensure Patients Continue To Receive Top-Notch Care

New York, N.Y. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sent the following letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services after a massive cyberattack on Change Healthcare downed a vital network for hospitals and pharmacies. The attack left healthcare providers unable to be paid and process patient insurance claims, which if it continues, could lead to reductions in patient care. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a letter to Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to get all hands on deck to help impacted hospitals recover from the impacts of the vicious ransomware attack on Change Healthcare. Healthcare providers are struggling to get paid, process insurance claims, and fill prescriptions, with some seeing millions lost every day as result of this breach. The Senator said if this cash-flow interruption continues, ripping larger holes on already strained budgets, it could lead to serious financial consequences for our most vulnerable hospitals.

First, Leader Schumer said it is imperative federal law enforcement must make this case a top priority, as it is a calculated attack on our nation’s critical healthcare system, and we must hold those responsible accountable for their actions. Second, Schumer is now pushing for CMS to use its authority under the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program, which allows CMS to make payments to hospitals in advance of receiving claims from them, to alleviate the financial burden healthcare providers are facing from this terrible cyberattack to get the payments they need. Schumer said swift action from CMS can cut through the bureaucratic red tape to streamline claims so healthcare providers get the relief they need now. He also called on United Health Groups, which owns Change Healthcare, to help keep providers afloat with loans, saying that CMS’ efforts need to be a complement to United’s efforts.

“Hospitals are essential to quality patient care, but this latest vicious cyberattack has blocked many healthcare providers and pharmacies from getting paid and processing insurance claims. If this continues it can lead to layoffs or even reductions in care. The delay in payments is costing hospitals across the country millions for every single week this continues, and some people are even struggling to get prescriptions filled at their local pharmacy. That’s why I am calling on CMS to use its authority to cut through the red tape and provide accelerated and advanced payments to impacted healthcare providers just as they did during COVID. We need to give our hospitals the immediate relief they need so that they won’t be forced to reduce patient care,” said Leader Schumer. “We can’t let hackers risk the financial stability of healthcare providers and even critical care to patients across America. CMS must act now to help our hospitals. I will keep fighting to ensure patients continue to receive the high-quality care they deserve.” 

Sen. Schumer said that the Advanced and Accelerated Payment program was a core part of keeping hospitals afloat during COVID, with roughly $100 billion loaned to hospitals as they had to shut down all non-emergency services. He said the program is a key tool CMS can use to respond to hospital crises.

In addition, Leader Schumer said it is imperative the federal law enforcement hold perpetrators accountable for this vicious attack and he has also asked the FBI to make this case a top priority. Schumer explained that hackers are known to target vulnerable critical infrastructure like the health care system to maximize the damage caused by their cyberattacks. The senator explained when hospitals are unable to process claims, bill patients, and receive payments, their operations are severely impacted because they don’t have the revenue to operate at full capacity. Schumer said while healthcare providers are trying to figure out alternatives for how to get claims submitted or fill prescriptions, if federal action is not taken soon, the downed system could mean hospitals and healthcare providers will be unable to acquire necessary medications and supplies or pay vendors.  

The full text of the letter can be found here and below.


Dear Administrator Brooks-LaSure:

I write with an urgent request following the massive cyberattack last week targeting Change Healthcare, subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, that has severely impacted operations at pharmacies, hospitals, and healthcare providers throughout New York State and across the country. The cyberattack resulted in a widespread network interruption, disrupting insurance claims and payment processes nationwide, with Change Healthcare suspending more than 100 services as it works to identify system vulnerabilities and recover user information.

Across New York State, healthcare providers that rely on the services of Change Healthcare are facing acute financial and operational challenges that have lasted more than a week and show no sign of resolution. As a consequence of the termination of Change Healthcare’s systems, hospitals, pharmacies, and healthcare providers are facing an immediate – and rapidly intensifying – adverse impact on their cash flow and, ultimately, on their financial solvency. While Change Healthcare remains offline, impacted healthcare institutions and providers will remain hamstrung and are unable to complete the necessary tasks to deliver care. Patients are unable to receive the eligibility checks needed to determine if their insurance will cover a prescribed treatment, or even get their needed medications filled at the local pharmacy. Hospitals are struggling to process claims, bill patients, and receive electronic payments, leaving them financially vulnerable with no anticipated timeline for resolution. Many hospitals are approaching a financial cliff where they will no longer be able to rely on their cash on hand.

I urge that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to immediately make Accelerated and Advanced Payments available to the hospitals, pharmacies, and relevant providers who have been impacted by the Change Healthcare cyberattack. In addition, CMS should also direct Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) to use a streamlined and efficient process to ensure claims processing and payments resume in a timely manner. The longer this disruption persists, the more difficult it will be for hospitals to continue to provide comprehensive healthcare services to patients.

The attack on Change Healthcare, one of America’s largest healthcare companies, underscores the importance of robust cybersecurity measures in safeguarding sensitive patient information and the need to address vulnerabilities promptly. Once again, I urge CMS to take immediate action to help minimize the cascading consequences of this attack and ensure the continued delivery of lifesaving patient care services in communities across New York State. 

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. 


Charles E. Schumer

United States Senate Majority Leader