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Responding to the healthcare clearinghouse cyber incident

Back to Business Resilience

Insights on cyber security

The reported healthcare clearinghouse cyberattack in February 20241 highlighted the growing vulnerabilities in modern healthcare. The incident triggered both operational and financial risks for organizations utilizing these clearinghouse applications, including many healthcare organizations. To rationalize the consequences of the incident’s impact and revamp security measures in place, an enterprise business impact assessment becomes crucial for organizations.

Immediate Reactions & Strategies

The unforeseen attack disrupted multiple aspects of impacted enterprises, extending from access to medicine to technology infrastructure and data. The operational impact was particularly felt in front, middle, and back-office areas, and reverberated onto elements such as working capital, and revenue yield.

In light of these impediments, organizations should consider devising and executing a comprehensive enterprise business impact assessment. This plan would look to analyze the impacts, prioritize areas that warrant immediate attention, and potentially create a remediation solution roadmap.

Mitigation strategies need to be implemented to reinstate cash flow and help ensure the continuity of care. Such steps could include manual verification for eligibility clearance and the paper-based submission of high-dollar/ timely filing claims for revenue recovery. On the path to enhancing enterprise resilience, downtime procedures for verification, diversification of vendor platforms, and continuous third-party monitoring could be initiated.

Evolving Role of Cybersecurity

Now, more than ever, as technological innovation leads businesses on an exponential trajectory, a prudent understanding of cyber risk becomes critical for maintaining growth without being blind-sided by single points of failure or vulnerabilities. Before, technical policies and protection measures were the predominant responsibilities of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). However, present circumstances have necessitated a trifecta division, taking into company controls, independent risk management, and meticulous internal and external audits.

Modern organizations need to appreciate cybersecurity as not just a supportive function but an integral aspect of business strategy. What once was deemed an inhibitory sector is now gradually becoming a key element in improving revenue streams and balancing the scales with new-age enterprises.

Balancing Cyber Risk and M&A

Dealing with cyber threats should be a comprehensive process, taking into account the overall risk posture of the business. It's not just about the immediate effects, but it is also about helping ensure that cyber risks are prioritized in due diligence procedures so new acquisitions don’t compromise security. For this, a unified risk-management framework incorporating cybersecurity as a core determinant is an imperative to safeguard an organization's highly valuable assets.

Such an approach sees cybersecurity responsibility shared between the CISO (the first line of defense within the technology infrastructure), and a separate cyber risk management leader (the second line of defense), charging the overall operational risk management. The leader, equipped with an innate understanding of risk appetites and Key Risk Indicators (KRIs), reports to the Risk Committee or Chief Risk Officer to help ensure full-fledged, informed business decisions.

In conclusion, responding to highly sophisticated cyber-attacks like the one our healthcare ecosystem faced requires a multi-dimensional approach. Both immediate business impact assessments and long-term operational strategy changes are integral to staying resilient in an increasingly digital world. Meticulous planning, a comprehensive cyber risk management system, and the evolution of the traditional organizational model are essential to helping reduce vulnerabilities and enhancing the cyber health of businesses. As the business world navigates the stormy seas of the digital age, fostering a proactive cyber risk posture becomes the key to safe and successful sailing.


Source: Securities and Exchange Commission, Form 8K, (February 2024)

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David Nides
Principal, Cyber Security Services, KPMG US

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