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Change Healthcare new electronic prescription tool amid cyberattack


In this photo illustration, UnitedHealth Group Inc logo seen displayed on a tablet.

Igor Golovniov | Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Change Healthcare on Friday said it’s finished setting up a new electronic prescription service, which could help provide some relief to pharmacies and physicians that have been struggling to contend with the fallout from the ongoing cyberattack.

UnitedHealth Group, Change Healthcare’s parent company, is also launching a temporary funding assistance program to help providers manage their “short-term” cash flow needs, the company said.

UnitedHealth discovered that a cyber threat actor breached part of the unit’s information technology network on Feb. 21, according to a filing with the SEC. UnitedHealth isolated and disconnected the impacted systems “immediately upon detection” of the threat, the filing said, which has since caused ripples of disruption across the health-care system.

Change Healthcare offers tools for payment and revenue cycle management that help carry out transactions between providers and most major insurance companies. It also offers electronic prescription software.

In an update Friday, Change Healthcare said it has successfully tested a new version of its “Rx ePrescribing service” with vendors and retail pharmacy partners. The service was enabled for all customers starting at 2 p.m. ET on Friday, though the company added that its existing Clinical Exchange ePrescribing providers’ tools are still not working.

UnitedHealth also launched a website on Friday with information about Change Healthcare’s response to the attack. On the site, UnitedHealth said it’s establishing a temporary funding assistance program to help providers whose payment distributions have been interrupted.

The company said the program will have no fees, interest or other associated costs, and the funds will need to be repaid when standard operations resume. Providers can check their eligibility using a link through the new website.

“We understand the urgency of resuming payment operations and continuing the flow of payments through the health care ecosystem,” UnitedHealth said on the site.

The company added that the program is not meant for providers that are experiencing disruptions to their claims submissions. UnitedHealth recommends using manual workarounds for claims, and said it’s working to address the 15% of claims that workarounds cannot address.

UnitedHealth said late Monday night that more than 90% of the nation’s pharmacies had set up modified electronic claims processing workarounds, while the rest established offline processing systems. On Friday, the company said its data suggests pharmacy claims are “flowing at near-normal levels,” according to the new website.

Many of the company’s systems have been down for 10 straight days.

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