Erlanger prepares for tighter budget in midst of Epic implementation

As Erlanger Health System finalizes its budget for 2016-17, the Chattanooga, Tenn.-based health system is factoring in how its Epic implementation and the opening of a new hospital will affect its revenues and expenses.

In the budget health system officials presented to the board, the health system expects revenues to exceed expenses by $15 million, reports the Times Free Press. Erlanger predicts yearly revenue to reach approximately $815.6 million, up 8.3 percent from this year's $741 million in revenue. But the health system also expects expenses to rise 10.4 percent to $802 million, according to the report.

"What you're going to see is a huge financial investment this year, and there are financial consequences for that this year," Erlanger CEO Kevin Spiegel said at the board meeting, according to the report.

With regards to the Epic transition, Erlanger predicts productivity will decline while employees get accustomed to the new software.

"It would be remiss for us not to say it will impact our productivity because in100 percent of the other hospitals that have rolled it out, it has, and that impacts the volume of patients you can see," said Britt Tabor, Erlanger CFO.

The health system announced last May it planned to invest $97 million over the next 10 years to overhaul its IT systems. Mr. Tabor said this year will require the largest capital expense for Epic, approximately $33 million.

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