Texas hospital encounters billing, cash flow issues after Cerner go-live

Medical Center Health System in Odessa, Texas, went live on its new EMR system April 1 to simplify patient billing and meet federal regulations for record keeping. However, a recently released independent consultant's report details problems related to the software conversion, including billing issues, according to the Odessa American.

After receiving a bond rating downgrade in March, Medical Center Health System, which includes a 402-bed hospital, outpatient sites and physician offices, was required to hire an independent consultant to review its operations and make recommendations on how the organization could increase revenue and cut expenses.

The consultant's report showed MCHS encountered several billing issues following the launch of its new Cerner EMR system, such as inflated discharged, not final billed numbers. At one point while the consultant's report was being prepared, a Cerner report showed discharged, not final billed totals were more than double the amount included in a report from the nThrive billing system, according to the Odessa American

Billing delays caused by the software launch also negatively impacted the organization's cash flow, according to the report.

The consultant's report noted MCHS' management and staff were blaming each other for the rocky software implementation. There is a "significant gap between management and staff in expectations for the Cerner installations," stated the consultant's report, according to the Odessa American.

The consultant recommended MCHS hire a company with a Cerner subject matter expert who can help the facility optimize workflows and provide additional training to staff. 

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