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Health System CMO Shares Impact of Change Healthcare Cyberattack

Analysis  |  By Christopher Cheney  
   March 21, 2024

With prior authorizations disrupted, Davis Health System is performing fewer elective surgeries after the cyberattack.

The chief medical officer of Davis Health System says the Change Healthcare cyberattack has affected patient care and revenue cycle at the health system.

According to an American Hospital Association survey, 94% of hospitals have experienced a financial impact from the Change Healthcare cyberattack, with more than half of hospitals reporting a significant or serious impact. The survey found the cyberattack has impacted the cash flow at 80% of hospitals, with 60% of those hospitals reporting an impact on revenue of at least $1 million per day. The survey also found that 74% of hospitals reported direct patient care being affected.

"Across the country, this cyberattack has been very disruptive," says Catherine "Mindy" Chua, DO, CMO of Elkins, West Virginia–based Davis Health System. "A couple of the big things are providers not being able to take credit card payments so patients who are trying to pay their hospital bills can't pay them and some pharmacies cannot take credit card payments. A lot of the coupons that patients use to take money off of their copays for their pharmaceuticals are not able to be used because they cannot be verified."

The cyberattack has impacted patient care at Davis, Chua says.

"We can't do many prior authorizations, and most insurance companies require prior authorizations for certain tests," she says. "We cannot schedule those tests without the prior authorization because the patient may end up being responsible for the cost of the test. So, tests are being put off, which affects patients and revenue cycle."

The cyberattack is also affecting elective surgeries at the health system, Chua says.

"Without being able to get prior authorization and insurance verification, many patients do not want to take the risk of having their insurance not cover the procedure," she says. "We are doing less elective surgeries."

The Change Healthcare disruption has also had a financial impact on Davis, Chua says.

"We have experienced the same thing as other health systems," she says. "We are not getting payments from insurers, so the cyberattack has significantly affected cash on-hand. We have had to move to almost completely manual claims processing. Whereas before we used to move claims from the electronic health record to another computer system, where they would be scrubbed and sent to the insurance companies, our entire revenue cycle team is hand-keying every one of our claims."

Even when claims are submitted to insurance companies, some of them cannot be processed, Chua says.

"The claims get sent to the insurance companies, but any of the insurance companies that were engaged with Change Healthcare are not necessarily able to process the claims on their end," she says. "So, even if we can get claims to the insurers, that does not mean that the insurers can process the claims and get us the reimbursement."

Christopher Cheney is the CMO editor at HealthLeaders.


According to an American Hospital Association survey, 94% of hospitals have experienced a financial impact from the Change Healthcare cyberattack.

At Davis Health System, the cyberattack has disrupted the ability to get prior authorizations for clinical tests, which are being put off to avoid patients being held responsible for the costs of the tests.

The cyberattack has also disrupted payment of claims at the health system, which has reduced cash on-hand.

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