PHOENIX — A cyberattack in late February is still causing problems for clinics and pharmacies all over the Valley.

Medical providers are telling ABC15 they have never seen anything like this before as hackers wreak havoc on the healthcare industry nationwide.

Hackers infiltrated United Health Group Inc.’s technology company Change Healthcare, which transmits data between providers and insurance companies.

“They are responsible for processing payments for probably about 25 percent of everything that happens healthcare-related in the country,” said Dr. Janice Johnston, the chief medical officer at Redirect Health.

The problems began Feb. 21, leaving physicians and pharmacists hamstrung.

The “cyberattack is severely impacting physicians and patient care across the state,” wrote Arizona Medical Association President Dr. William Thompson in a statement. “Clinics (are) unable to complete routine operations required by insurers — everything from prior authorization approvals for treatments to determining insurance eligibility for patients.”

Smaller clinics are feeling the worst of it.

“A provider office, doctor’s office, is a business, just like any other business and relies on the flow of funds in order to be able to pay staff, pay rent, buy supplies, buy medications, all of that kind of thing,” said Johnston.

The state’s Medicaid agency, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, is directing providers contracted with their managed care health plans to request for emergency funding.

“To date, AHCCCS has reviewed more than 120 individual requests,” they said in a statement. They have “allocated as many resources as possible to working this issue.”

Change Healthcare is working to restore key systems by as early as next week. Providers worry any longer will have long-term impacts on their patients.

“Money plays a factor for a lot of decisions that patients make and as physicians, we need to be able to adapt and guide people appropriately,” said Johnston.

Source: abc15Arizona

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