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CMS Preparing to Close Program that Addressed Medicare Funding Issues Resulting from Change Healthcare Cyber-Attack

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that payments under the Accelerated and Advance Payment (AAP) Program for the Change Healthcare/Optum Payment Disruption (CHOPD) will conclude on July 12, 2024. Launched in early March, the CHOPD payments were designed to ease cash flow disruptions experienced by some Medicare providers and suppliers, such as hospitals, physicians, and pharmacists, due to the unprecedented cyberattack that took health care electronic data interchange Change Healthcare offline in February. 

“In the face of one of the most widespread cyberattacks on the U.S. health care industry, CMS promptly took action to get providers and suppliers access to the funds they needed to continue providing patients with vital care,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “Our efforts helped minimize the disruptive fallout from this incident, and we will remain vigilant to be ready to address future events.” 

CHOPD accelerated payments have been issued to over 4,200 Part A providers, such as hospitals, totaling more than $2.55 billion. CMS also issued 4,722 CHOPD advance payments, totaling more than $717.18 million, to Part B suppliers, including doctors, non-physician practitioners, and durable medical equipment suppliers. 

Providers of services and suppliers are now successfully billing Medicare, and to date, CMS has already recovered over 96% of the CHOPD payments. After July 12, 2024, CMS will no longer accept new applications for CHOPD accelerated or advance payments. Any providers of services or suppliers that are having difficulty billing or receiving payment should contact Change Healthcare, owned by UnitedHealth Group, by visiting https://www.unitedhealthgroup.com/ns/changehealthcare.html and/or their Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC). To find your MACs contact information, please visit https://www.cms.gov/mac-info. All new CHOPD program applications must be submitted from eligible providers and suppliers prior to that date. 

CMS will continue to monitor for other effects of the cyberattack on Medicare providers of services and suppliers and will continue to engage industry partners to address any remaining issues or concerns. CMS encourages all providers of services and suppliers, technology vendors, and other members of the health care ecosystem to double down on cybersecurity, with urgency. Please visit the HPH Cyber Performance Goals website at https://hphcyber.hhs.gov/performance-goals.html for more details on steps to stay protected.