It was something they had to do and of course the cost was there. Most of the $28 million of debt is attributed to installing an Epic Medical Records system. They began in 2012 and have received a little over a million for meeting their meaningful use incentives. The one million is kind of over shadowed by the over all expense you could say.
There are hopes to bring the debt down and folks sound optimistic but it’s a big one to crawl back from. The facility has also had a rise with uninsured patients as well. Something in the Health IT area that doesn’t get discussed too often is “hospital inequality” but it’s there.
In rural areas of he US, many have closed and it’s still happening and we just hope there’s enough left to serve us, and thus so hospital ratings have pretty much died out there as far as consumer information is concerned. It’s more about who’s left and where can they do in network, etc.
So all those studies you read the last couple of years with technology saving money, well you can forget it as it’s not the case. We had oodles of them out there, some even predicting national savings in the trillions with technology saving money and truth is that technology costs money so efficiencies created are eaten up quickly by the next Health IT or Medtech devices. Here’s a couple recent posts about hospitals in California. BD
Southern Arizona’s largest health network is $28.5 million in the red so far this fiscal year, and officials say a costly electronic medical records system is largely to blame.
The operating loss is unprecedented for the four-year-old University of Arizona Health Network, which includes two local hospitals.
The electronic records system, from Wisconsin-based Epic Systems, has cost an estimated $115 million, including $32 million in unbudgeted costs for the first eight months of the fiscal year, which ends June 30, financial documents show. The extra costs are due primarily to a delay in getting the system live and funding additional training and support, officials said. It was supposed to be up and running by Sept. 1, but wasn’t operational until Nov. 1.
“This is the biggest operational change this organization has ever undertaken,” said Dan Critchley, who started working with the UA Health Network as a consultant last July and has been chief information officer since Feb. 1.
The network also lost federal dollars from a program that helped bridge the funding gap created by Medicaid rate cuts and a rise in uninsured patients. The Safety Net Care Pool, which also included Maricopa Integrated Health System and Phoenix Children’s, pumped $33 million into the UA hospitals for the first six months of the fiscal year. But that infusion ended Dec. 31 to coincide with greater health insurance availability through the Affordable Care Act.
The UA Health Network, which began its Epic implementation in 2012, receives a little over $1 million per year in incentive payments, Critchley said.
Adoption of electronic records is voluntary, but hospitals that don’t make the switch by October face Medicare payment cuts of about 1 percent, and increasing reductions each year.