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Senator Hassan Secures Relief from UnitedHealth for Doctors, Hospitals in NH & Nationwide Following Cybersecurity Attack; Pledges to Continue Oversight

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) announced today that she has secured relief from UnitedHealth Group for hospitals in New Hampshire who have been unable to receive payments for the majority of their services for nearly four weeks, when a cyberattack took down a payment platform offered by Change Healthcare, which is owned by UnitedHealth Group. Providers across the country should now also be able to access the improved relief program from UnitedHealth Group.  

The updated financial assistance program for medical providers from UnitedHealth follows direct advocacy from Senator Hassan, who raised the issue in conversations with President Joe Biden and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, and pressed UnitedHealth on the inadequacy of the initial assistance program. Senator Hassan met Thursday with UnitedHealth CEO Andrew Witty and secured a commitment for improvements to the financial assistance program for hospitals and doctors. She followed up with a meeting with several New Hampshire hospitals and called Witty on Friday to ensure that the changes were made. Several New Hampshire hospitals have confirmed that they are now enrolled in the program and expect to soon receive assistance payments.

“Through no fault of their own, medical providers found their cash flow disappear overnight, putting at risk their ability to continue to provide patients the care that they need,” said Senator Hassan. “I am pleased that UnitedHealth has responded to the concerns of small and rural providers in New Hampshire. As the response to this cyberattack continues, UnitedHealth and the federal government must do all that they can to securely restore systems and to support medical providers, and I will work with my colleagues to develop recommendations for improving health care cybersecurity to prevent an attack like this from happening again.”

“We appreciate Senator Hassan's direct advocacy with UnitedHealth Group to gain more reasonable terms for their loan program for several New Hampshire hospitals significantly impacted by the Change Healthcare cyberattack, something they should have been willing to do without being prodded into action,” said Steve Ahnen, President of the New Hampshire Hospital Association. “The Change Healthcare cyberattack is the largest attack on health care in US history and remains a crisis here in New Hampshire and across the country. The challenges it continues to pose will require greater partnership and collaboration from UnitedHealth and other commercial payors than they’ve shown to date.”

Change Healthcare processes health insurance payments for many health care providers across the country, including four Critical Access Hospitals in New Hampshire. Following a February 21 cyberattack on Change Healthcare, many hospitals, doctors, and other health care-related businesses in NH and across the country have not received any insurance payments, threatening their ability to operate. Several hospitals in New Hampshire have seen as much as 98 percent of their cash flow disappear as a result of the hack.

The updates that UnitedHealth made to its terms and conditions for assistance following Senator Hassan’s advocacy are available here. In addition to this improved financial assistance program from UnitedHealth Group, Senator Hassan also helped secure approval for aid through Medicare for at least one New Hampshire hospital that was impacted by the hack. In November 2023, Senator Hassan helped launch a bipartisan working group to strengthen cybersecurity in the health care and public health sectors. Senator Hassan worked to pass into law her measure to create a Cybersecurity Coordinator in every state to help federal, state, and local governments, as well as schools, hospitals, and other entities, coordinate and better protect their systems against cyberattacks.