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AMA responds to UnitedHealth confirmation of stolen data from Change Healthcare


The American Medical Association (AMA) is deeply concerned about the April 22 announcement from UnitedHealth Group (UHG) indicating vast amounts of sensitive medical data might have been stolen from Change Healthcare’s system and in the hands of malicious ransomware groups.

“The AMA appreciates UHG’s statement outlining efforts to contain damage and provide support for people who are concerned about their personal data,” said AMA President Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D., M.P.H. “The AMA urges UHG to quickly operationalize and fulfill its promises to help patients and physicians affected by the breach.”

The AMA continues to hear strong concerns from physicians, especially small practices, about the havoc caused by the cyberattack. Nearly two months after Change Healthcare turned off its systems, large portions of physicians reported (PDF) suspended claim payments, and the inability to submit claims or verify benefits. UHG must solve many of these issues one practice or situation at a time, so it is not a shock that small practices are last in line and really struggling.

“As information becomes available, the AMA urges UHG to keep patients and physicians informed about how it will implement these announcements, as well as provide the financial assistance and administrative flexibilities needed for practices to stay open and provide patient care,” said Dr. Ehrenfeld.

The unprecedented turmoil created by the Change Healthcare cyberattack underscores the gravity of cybersecurity challenges faced by the health care sector. Keeping pace with the growing host of cyber risks demands that physicians stay informed and strengthen their cybersecurity capabilities. The AMA stands ready to help physicians with:

  • Timely updates via our website so physicians can keep up to date with fast moving developments.
  • A growing list of tools and resources with comprehensive guidance for assessing and cybersecurity and defending against malicious cyber threats.
  • An eight part video training series from AMA Ed Hub™ on cybersecurity in a clinical setting.

The AMA continues to urge Congress to ensure that physician practices have resources to weather the Change Healthcare incident and future cybersecurity crises so they can continue serving their patients. This priority must start with ensuring physicians’ financial security and reforming the broken Medicare payment system.


About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.

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