EHR implementations pose financial challenges for health systems

EHR systems can be costly to implement and maintain depending on several factors, including the size and type of healthcare organization, the chosen EHR system, and the complexity of the implementation, which can lead to financial consequences for health systems. 

Recently, Scottsbluff, Neb.-based Regional West Health Services said it is facing revenue pressure related to its 2018 Cerner EHR implementation.

According to Fitch, the health system's Cerner EHR contributed to its ongoing cost pressures that led to its two-notch downgrade from "BB+" to "BB-."

Gardner, Mass.-based Heywood Healthcare also faced financial pressures due to its EHR. 

In an Oct. 2 notice to its vendors, Heywood cited a "lengthy electronic medical record transition" as a factor in its decision to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The health system runs on the Meditech Expanse EHR system. 

Richard Park, director of the nonprofit healthcare department for Fitch, told the Star Herald that revenue dips due to new EHR implementations are common for hospitals and health systems, and that the EHR systems are needed for healthcare organizations to "properly document code and bill for services."  

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