The White House
(Credit: Caroline Purser / Getty Images)

The Change Healthcare cyberattack has had such a profound effect on long-term care caregivers, residents and patients, the White House is now demanding accountability.

The Biden administration summoned UnitedHealth – Change Healthcare’s parent company – to the White House and convened a meeting Tuesday with several top healthcare-related organizations, including the American Health Care Association and LeadingAge. 

The US Department of Health and Human Services also announced Wednesday it would be conducting an investigation into the source of the cyberattack.

As part of the meeting, White House officials pushed UnitedHealth Group to take more action and implored healthcare leaders to make emergency funding available, according to a report Wednesday in the Washington Post.

Also present at the meeting were HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and Anne Neuberger, who was appointed in 2021 to be the national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology.

“Becerra and Domestic Policy Advisor [Neera] Tanden made clear the government and private sector must work together to help providers make payroll and deliver timely care to the American people and that insurers help providers in this moment of challenge,” the White House said in an official statement recounting the meeting. “Biden-Harris Administration officials called upon the payers to respond with urgency and noted they will follow-up with the payer community about the actions and commitments voiced today.”

Since it occurred Feb. 21, the Change Healthcare attack has caused numerous problems,  including near complete disruption of billing claims filing for affiliates. It involves many long-term care operators and includes as much as 90% of claims for at least one long-term care provider. 

Friday, Change Healthcare posted an update online saying that it expected electronic payment functionality to return this Friday (March 15) and that it would begin “testing and reestablishing” their claims network software beginning Monday. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has worked to set up “payment lifelines” for certain providers and offer cash advances that the agency expects to be recouped once the system is back online.

Overall, the incident has provoked a national conversation about the impact of cybersecurity threats and how to better mobilize software systems against such attacks. It figures to be a major topic of discussion at this week’s Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference for health tech managers.

LeadingAge has been providing regular updates about the Change Healthcare situation on the association’s site.