New York hospital offers alternative explanation for losses after auditors blame Cerner billing issues

Auditors determined Glens Falls (N.Y.) Hospital's significant losses in 2017 were largely attributable to the rollout of a new billing system. However, the hospital offered a different explanation to state health regulators, according to The Post Star.

The Post-Star published a report last year detailing problems with collections Glen Falls Hospital experienced after implementing a new Cerner billing system in November 2016. According to an audit report from KPMG cited by The Post-Star, Glens Falls Hospital was unable to collect on $16.3 million in bills in 2016, and that number rose to $54 million in 2017. The auditors attributed $38 million of the increase to "collection issues" caused by the switch to Cerner.

In March, the hospital's CEO ran an ad in The Post Star, announcing the hospital had reached a settlement with Cerner over losses it sustained when Cerner's billing system did not work. The ad didn't include the terms of the settlement or when it was reached. At that time, a Cerner spokesperson told Becker's Hospital Review that the "matter was previously resolved" and Glen Falls Hospital "remains a valued partner."

Glen Falls Hospital announced in September that it agreed to affiliate with Albany (N.Y.) Medical Center. As part of the application for the affiliation, the New York Department of Health asked Glen Falls Hospital to explain why it lost $34 million in 2017. The hospital did not mention the billing issues. Instead, it blamed the loss on lower surgery volume and seeing a higher percentage of Medicare patients, according to The Post Star.

The Post Star reports that Glen Falls Hospital reported an average profit of $3.6 million for eight years before the billing issues in 2017.

State officials accepted the hospital's explanation for the loss in 2017 and approved its affiliation with Albany Medical Center, according to the report.

Access the full article from The Post Star here.

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