Glen Falls Hospital reached a settlement with Cerner EHR to account for significant losses partly caused by Cerner’s faulty billing system.
UPDATE: Cerner has issued a statement to EHRIntelligence.com regarding its settlement with Glen Falls Hospital.
Glen Falls Hospital has received a settlement from Cerner EHR over the $38 million in losses the New York Hospital saw in 2017 as a result of Cerner’s malfunctioning billing system, according to The Post-Star.
Glen Falls Hospital CEO Dianne Shugrue has not revealed when Glen Falls and Cerner reached the settlement or how much the hospital received for the faulty billing system.
According to Shugrue, the hospital continually experienced billing problems over the course of two years after implementing a new Cerner EHR system. The billing system caused financial hardship for the hospital, but otherwise Glen Falls officials stated there have been no long-term problems resulting from the system.
“It was a serious, short-term issue and it’s fixed,” Shugrue wrote in an ad in The Post.
“We are now focused on fixing some different billing issues,” Shugrue added. “I’m not entirely satisfied with our performance yet, but our team is making good progress.”
Glen Falls set up a phone line earlier this week for any patients still grappling with billing problems. Hospital staff are manning the call center to assist with any issues.
Patients have told The Post they did not receive bills from Glen Falls for years, or repeatedly received bills for the same procedure. Some patients stated they have been reported to a collection agency for bills denied by their insurance for being sent too late.
“As is customary in resolving business disputes, the terms are confidential,” said Shugrue.
While Glen Falls officials have not specified the value of the settlement, Shugrue has stated the hospital is satisfied by the offer.
Despite the system’s persistent problems, Shugrue stated the EHR system will ultimately provide long-term benefits to patients and providers by improving the safety and quality of healthcare delivery.
With the hospital’s financial troubles now under control, Shugrue emphasized operations and expenses are now sustainable.
“Glens Falls Hospital is not closing, and we are not going out of business,” she said in the ad. “Our cash flow and balance sheet are strong, our debt is manageable, our expenses well controlled.”
While Glen Falls appears to have recovered from its 2017 losses, hospital officials needed to make several cost-cutting decisions over the last year to reduce the impact of its ongoing billing problems.
For example, Glen Falls officials reduced operating costs and laid off employees throughout the year to cushion the financial blow of the malfunctioning system.
In 2017, Glen Falls reported a total of $54 million in uncollected bills — $38 million of which were directly attributable to problems with the Cerner EHR system.
The hospital swapped several different health IT systems for the single Cerner EHR in 2016 as part of an effort to improve health data access and exchange across the hospital network.
“Healthcare is just totally changing,” Shugrue said in a statement at the time. “We’re challenged every day to say, what are we doing today that 20 years from now, 30 years now, somebody’s going to say, ‘I can’t believe we did it that way and didn’t hurt anybody along the way’? And I think some of that is going to have to do with information. That is going to be huge in the health care industry.”
After the 2016 EHR implementation, the hospital failed to collect on $12.6 million in bills. This represented a significant spike in uncollected billings compared to the three years prior, when the hospital failed to collect an average of $9.2 million per year.
Cerner sent the following statement to EHRIntelligence.com about its settlement with Glen Falls Hospital:
“The hospital remains a valued partner,” wrote Cerner spokeswoman and Senior Communications Partner Anamarie Rebori Simmons. “The matter was previously resolved. We continue to work together to provide care to the community.”
Date: March 25, 2019
Source: EHR Intelligence