Idaho hospital faces cash crunch after software glitch causes billing problems

Benewah Community Hospital in St. Maries, Idaho, faces a cash shortage after it implemented new Cerner software that caused billing problems, according to the St. Maries Gazette Record.

The hospital, which is owned by Benewah County, worked with Cerner for 15 months to implement the software, but the problem reportedly didn't come to light until after the hospital went live following a software update. The hospital can bill private insurers properly, but the software glitches prevent it from billing Medicare.

"Because of the lag between providing services and issuing bills, we did not encounter the problem for about a week after we went live," Dan Hammes, chairman of the hospital board, told the St. Maries Gazette Record.

The Benewah County commissioners said the county will loan the hospital money until the software issue is resolved. Mr. Hammes said the hospital's billing department is working closely with Cerner to fix the issue.

Mr. Hammes said the hospital's cash flow will return to normal about three weeks after the software is fully functional because it takes 21 days after bills are submitted to Medicare for the hospital to receive payment.

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