National Council on CHANGE Healthcare Outage

March 23, 2024

Several weeks ago the NYS Council reported that we had spoken with our colleagues at the National Council re: the numerous issues facing mental health and substance use prevention, treatment and recovery organizations in light of the ongoing CHANGE clearinghouse outage.  At that time the National Council had heard from just one other state regarding the impact of the outage so they put out a message to association executives requesting examples of problems being experienced by providers and I suspect they were inundated.   

Attached and excerpted below please find a letter sent yesterday by National Council for Mental Wellbeing President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra on the recent cyberattack of Change Healthcare and how it significantly impacted and still is impacting mental health and substance use prevention, recovery, and treatment organizations across our country. 

In the letter, the National Council encourages HHS to undertake six additional actions to respond to the ongoing impact of this event. Specifically, 

  1. Establish and quickly execute bridge payments in the next 30 days to mental health and substance use treatment organizations impacted by Change Healthcare’s clearinghouse disruption, in line with the bridge loans/payments received during the Covid 19 Public Health Emergency.
  2. Issue guidance strongly encouraging other payers, including state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agencies and Medicaid and CHIP managed care plans to work with mental health and substance use treatment organizations to get advanced payments to these organizations.
  3. Ensure mental health and substance use treatment organizations are eligible to request and receive timely and equitable Medicare advanced and accelerated payments from their Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs).
  4. Create a temporary dedicated task force for impacted mental health and substance use treatment organizations to report challenges with payors, Medicaid agencies, or companies involved with the cyberattack.
  5. Waive clearinghouse Medicaid and MCO enrollment requirements to expedite mental health and substance use treatment organizations ability to change clearinghouse.
  6. Formally require Medicare/Medicaid to waive timely filing requirements for Medicaid and MCOs across all 50 states until all Change Healthcare revenue cycle products are back online extending a period of 90 days following the reinstatement.  (see BCBS response to Covid -19 PHE Federal Agencies Extend Timely Filing and Appeals Deadlines).

We are grateful to the National Council for taking this action.  
It is important to remember that while the federal government is (by and large) responsible for the Medicare Program, individual states have a great deal of control over the rules of the road governing (state) Medicaid Programs.  As such, the NYS Council will remain at the forefront of federal and state advocacy efforts to ensure continued viability of our member agencies, and implementation of solutions that address the numerous insurance and other barriers that delay or deny care for the individuals we serve.