A recent cyberattack on Change Healthcare has affected dental and medical providers’ ability to deal with vendors and payers.

On February 21, Change Healthcare was impacted by a cybersecurity incident that has sent waves through the healthcare industry. Medical and dental providers across the country have experienced disruptions from the cyberattack which took down parts of the company’s system. Change Healthcare is one of the largest revenue and payment cycle management providers in the US healthcare system.

The disruption has primarily affected healthcare providers from obtaining insurance approval for procedures leading to delays in claims and insurance payments.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) stated that it recognized the impact this attack has had on healthcare operations across the country. The agency vowed to help coordinate efforts to avoid disruptions to care throughout the healthcare system.

The American Dental Association is monitoring the dental industry response to the recent cyberattack on Change Healthcare, telling impacted members to watch for communication from vendors and payers regarding restoration of services.

The association is also imploring members to seek alternative options, such as using payer portals or provider service lines for eligibility and benefits verification, asking vendors for alternative clearinghouse options, and carefully tracking claims, or to consider using paper claim forms until services are restored.Across the dental industry, practice management providers have been communicating with customers about how they are handling the attack.

Change Healthcare parent company UnitedHealth Group announced a timeline for the return of services, anticipating that electronic payment functionality would return by March 15 and a restoration of its claims network by the week of March 18.

Henry Schein announced that it was still working to process claims and eligibility. The company asked users to create and send claims and attachments as normal and to not resubmit claims or attachments that were already sent.

Open Dental stated that there was no ETA on when Change Healthcare is expected to be fully functional again and offered a list of clearinghouse options.

To restore business continuity for its customers, Patterson Dental expanded its Eaglesoft claims processing and insurance services to include Vyne Dental.

According to a Wired report, there is evidence that Change Healthcare paid a $22 million ransom to hacker group BlackCat. If true, it would be among the largest ransoms ever paid from a ransomware attack.

More worryingly, a hacker who was contracted by BlackCat to help penetrate Change Healthcare’s systems alleged that they were not paid for their participation, leaving open the possibility that the sensitive data obtained in the cyberattack could be publicly released.

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