July 02, 2024

Wyden Presses UnitedHealth Group after June 27 Town Hall in Central Oregon Raises Serious Concerns about Company Promises to Health Care Providers & Patients

Senate Finance Committee Chair letter to UnitedHealth Group: “It is my concern that UHG is telling Congress one story, while leaving physician practices in the dark.”

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden today demanded UnitedHealth Group explain why health care providers in Oregon and nationwide still cannot send claims or receive payments for services delivered to their patients nearly two months after its top executive told the Senate Finance Committee a different story.

After hearing ongoing concerns raised at his June 27 Deschutes County town hall by a Central Oregon pathology business, Wyden wrote UnitedHealth Group CEO Andrew Witty that UHG subsidiary Change Healthcare’s cybersecurity failures remain especially acute for providers like Central Oregon Pathology Consultants.

“Not only does reimbursement remain stopped, many providers have exclusive claims processing with Change Healthcare and remain in legal limbo as your representatives have not clearly released those providers to work with another clearinghouse in the aftermath of the cyberattack,” wrote Wyden, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “On May 1, you testified before the Senate Committee on Finance about the cyberattack on Change Healthcare and the improving recovery. I have heard firsthand as recently as June 27, however, that reimbursement for pathology practices in Bend, Oregon, is still blocked, rendering your testimony as wishful thinking and disconnected from the real-world experience of many provider practices.”

“In addition, you told this Committee that providers would be released from exclusive contracts allowing them to pursue other clearinghouse solutions,” Wyden wrote. “However, your company’s communication to my constituents has confused them and so they still feel held hostage to these onerous terms that threaten their practice’s business and financial security.” 

And Wyden noted that contrary to UHG’s testimony in committee on May 1 that breach notifications necessary for providers to inform patients if personal information had been stolen would be coming “as quickly as possible,” Central Oregon Pathology Consultants said at the June 27 town hall more than eight weeks later that they still don’t know whether their patients’ data has been compromised and have received contradictory communications from your company as to whether their patients’ data has been compromised. 

“It is my concern that UHG is telling Congress one story, while leaving physician practices in the dark,” Wyden wrote.

Among the questions Wyden asked UHG to answer by July 15 are how many practices still can’t submit claims to payers or receive payments and remittances because of the cyberattack; when customers will be able to submit claims, process remittances, denials and post payments; and how UHG plans to make customers whole for claims that now cannot be submitted because of missed deadlines.

The entire letter is here.

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