Dana-Farber's earnings dragged down by Epic EMR billing problems

Boston-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute reported an operating loss in the third quarter of fiscal year 2017, which ended June 30, as issues with its Epic EMR hampered revenue growth, according to the Boston Business Journal.

Dana-Farber ended the third quarter of fiscal year 2017 with an operating loss of $44.2 million. That's compared to the $6 million operating loss the hospital recorded in the third quarter of the year prior.

Although several factors lead to the hospital's operating loss in the third quarter of the most recent fiscal year, a main contributor was billing problems caused by its Epic EMR. The hospital has lost approximately $25 million due to billing problems since it implemented its Epic EMR in May 2015, according to the report.

"Billing and denial issues are not unusual in the initial phases of an EMR implementation and we planned for it accordingly," hospital spokeswoman Ellen Berlin told the Boston Business Journal. "However, they were higher than expected."

The hospital said it is working to resolve the billing problems, but it expects some ongoing issues in the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. Officials told the Boston Business Journal operations are expected to return to normal in fiscal year 2019.

For the first nine months of fiscal year 2017, Dana-Farber reported an operating loss of $34.9 million, compared to operating income of $21.4 million in the same period of fiscal year 2016.

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