Fallout from Change Healthcare Breach: Solutions to Move Forward

pharmacist affected by cyberattack May 1, 2024

Recent cybersecurity attacks have rocked the healthcare industry, resulting in the unprecedented shutdown of Change Healthcare’s network. As a leading provider of healthcare data and revenue cycle management, the implications of this cybercrime are far-reaching.

The fallout from these attacks is particularly concerning for smaller providers and pharmacies, now facing the harsh reality of depleted cash reserves. In the wake of this cybersecurity incident, financial pressures have mounted, posing significant challenges to their operations.

In light of these events, healthcare organizations must take preemptive steps to safeguard their systems and data. By implementing robust cybersecurity measures, we can fortify our defenses against future breaches and protect the integrity of our vital healthcare services.

Let’s explore proven strategies for preventing a breach in healthcare security, including setting up specialized protocols, conducting regular security audits, and working with HIPAA-compliant partners like 1st Providers Choice.

Impact Assessment

The immediate consequences of the Change Healthcare breach for affected individuals, healthcare providers, and the broader healthcare ecosystem are significant and multifaceted.

Affected Individuals. Some patients experience disruptions in healthcare services, including delays in receiving medical treatment or prescriptions due to difficulties verifying insurance benefits and processing billing.

Also, patients face financial burdens if their insurance information is inaccessible, such as paying for medical services or prescriptions out of pocket.

Healthcare Providers. Hospitals, physicians, dentists, and pharmacies reliant on Change Healthcare’s services face operational challenges, including the inability to verify insurance benefits, handle prior authorizations, and process billing efficiently.

Healthcare providers may experience financial losses due to reimbursement delays and disruptions in revenue streams resulting from their inability to bill patients.

Healthcare Ecosystem. Regulatory authorities will impose fines on organizations that violate data protection and privacy regulations, further impacting the financial stability of affected entities.

Public perception of healthcare technology and data security may be negatively affected, leading to greater demands for transparency, accountability, and cybersecurity measures.

Each cyberattack pressures healthcare organizations to evaluate and enhance their cybersecurity defenses proactively. This ranges from assessing a billing partner’s security to verifying security attestations that safeguard the security of patient data.

Immediate Response Efforts

After the attack, Change Healthcare swiftly disconnected more than 111 services within its system. The company also collaborated with law enforcement agencies and cybersecurity firms to contain and mitigate the risks posed by the ransomware threat. 

This incident highlights the importance of compliance when managing healthcare claims data in billing and other workflows to ensure patient safety and data integrity. Organizations can protect sensitive patient information from unauthorized access and minimize the impact of cybersecurity incidents on patient care by implementing multiple security measures.

Enhanced Cybersecurity Measures

A recent report by a health risk assurance firm estimated that healthcare providers are losing more than $100 million daily due to the current outage. This has resulted in significant financial difficulties for medical practices that are already struggling with liquidity issues.

Organizations can implement cybersecurity measures and protocols to prevent a future HIPAA breach or cyberattack. Here are some specific steps that you can take:

Regular Security Audits: Regularly audit systems, networks, and applications for vulnerabilities and prioritize security measures.

Implement MFA: Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) for sensitive systems and data access to add an extra layer of security in addition to passwords. In the case of Change Healthcare, the hackers could log into the application because multi-factor authentication wasn’t activated.

Network Segmentation: Implement network segmentation to isolate sensitive systems and data from other parts of the network, reducing the impact of a breach.

Patch Management: Establish a complete patch management process to promptly apply security updates to software, operating systems, and devices to address known vulnerabilities.

Training and Awareness: Regular cybersecurity training and awareness programs are essential to educate clinic staff about prevalent threats like phishing and social engineering attacks. To support implementation and training, consider working with an experienced partner, such as 5 Star Billing Services

Access Controls: Enforce minor access controls to ensure that users have only the permissions necessary to perform their job functions and minimize the risk of unauthorized access.

Incident Response Plan: Develop your clinic’s incident response plan and outline the procedures to follow during a cybersecurity incident. This plan should identify each team member’s responsibilities and provide guidelines for mitigating the incident. 

To create a unique protocol that expedites orders when necessary, collaborate with 5 Star Billing Services. We also offer the option to schedule installations during the week to accelerate the process.

Data Loss Prevention: Deploy prevention strategies to monitor and prevent unauthorized transmission of sensitive data outside the organization’s network.

Regular Penetration Testing: Conduct penetration testing and ethical hacking exercises to identify weaknesses in systems and applications before attackers can exploit them.

Collaborative Initiatives and Information Sharing

Collaboration in sharing cybersecurity threat intelligence and best practices is crucial for enhancing the overall cybersecurity posture of the healthcare industry. Here are several ways healthcare organizations can collaborate:

Information-Sharing Networks: Healthcare organizations can participate in information-sharing networks and forums tailored to the healthcare sector. These networks facilitate the sharing of threat intelligence, including ransomware. Examples include the Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center (H-ISAC) and healthcare cybersecurity organizations.

Vendor Collaboration: Clinics can collaborate with technology vendors and service providers to incorporate cybersecurity into their products and services. For example, providers affected by the breach of the Change Healthcare system are receiving assistance through the 1st Providers Choice and Availity partnership, which covers claim submission, status updates, eligibility requests, and remittance advice delivery.

Standardization of Practices: Establishing industry-wide standards and best practices for cybersecurity can promote consistency and interoperability across healthcare organizations. Collaborative efforts to develop and adopt standards for data encryption, access controls, incident response, and other cybersecurity measures can enhance cybersecurity resilience.


By implementing cybersecurity measures and protocols, organizations can strengthen their defenses against breaches and protect sensitive data and critical assets from cyber threats. 

The healthcare industry can also improve its cybersecurity defenses and mitigate cyber threats by actively participating in collaborative initiatives, such as sharing threat intelligence through the healthcare data breach report. By working with the 5 Star Billing Services team, organizations can receive proven support and collaborate to protect patient data better and reinforce healthcare infrastructure.

Tap Into Our Expertise 

At 5 Star Billing Services, we provide exceptional medical billing, collection, and administrative services that cater to the unique requirements of medical practitioners. Our security measures are robust and comply with HIPAA regulations, ensuring the safety and confidentiality of your data. 

To secure your medical billing processes, fill out the form or call 480-999-0180 to speak with one of our representatives today!

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