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Large Scale Cyberattacks Disrupt Essential Substance Use and Mental Health Services

NAATP and the National Council for Mental Wellbeing today released the following joint statement about recent cyberattacks affecting the healthcare industry.

The cyberattack on February 21, 2024 that has paralyzed the nation’s largest billing and payment system must serve as a warning to organizations throughout the healthcare continuum that everyone is a target. While national attention has largely focused on the impact of the attack on hospitals and physical health providers, it is important to highlight the equally devastating effects that the ransomware attacks have had on substance use and mental health providers across the country. 

In the midst of an overdose crisis and an increased demand for mental health treatment, this disruption in vital services has left patients vulnerable to crisis, as behavioral health providers are unable to obtain insurance approval or payment for their services.

While the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has asked insurers to waive prior authorizations and Medicare contractors to accept paper bills, the extensive disruption to patient care underscores the critical need for enhanced cybersecurity measures to safeguard healthcare data and systems.

The National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers and the National Council for Mental Wellbeing join together to highlight the urgent need for enhanced cybersecurity measures. These measures are essential to safeguarding the ability of our members to deliver lifesaving substance use and mental health treatment to some of our nation’s most vulnerable patients.

If affected by the cyberattack on Change Healthcare:

  • Read the HHS Statement and Guidance, March 5, 2024.
  • Contact your EHR vendor to learn more about real time transitions to alternative payment clearinghouses to begin the processing of backlogged claims.
  • If submitting paper claims, ensure confirmation of payor contact information before sending to ensure the correct numbers and addresses are being used for payors that have traditionally processed electronically.

The National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers has been the addiction service profession's vision, voice, and thought leader since 1978. NAATP is a nonprofit professional membership society and trade association of top treatment providers throughout the addiction treatment continuum of care. NAATP supports its members by providing clinical and operational resources as well as law and policy advocacy. NAATP's service as a convening body brings the industry together to promote collegiality and the dissemination of best practices. 

About The National Council
Founded in 1969, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing is a membership organization that drives policy and social change on behalf of over 3,300 mental health and substance use treatment organizations and the more than 10 million children, adults, and families they serve. We advocate for policies to ensure equitable access to high-quality services. We build the capacity of mental health and substance use treatment organizations. And we promote greater understanding of mental wellbeing as a core component of comprehensive health and healthcare. Through our Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program, we have trained more than 3 million people in the U.S. to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges.

Media Contacts
National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers 
Luke Miller

National Council for Mental Wellbeing
Sophia Majlessi

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