U of Vermont Health Network blames operating loss on Epic install

Burlington-based University of Vermont Health Network reported a $10 million operating loss in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, which it attributed to an Epic EHR installation that cost more than expected, according to the VTDigger.

The network, which comprises six hospitals in Vermont and New York, said it missed its budget target by about $14.6 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2020, which ended Dec. 31, 2019. 

The network is blaming part of the operating loss on its systemwide $151.7 million Epic EHR implementation project. 

UVM Health Network CEO John Brumstead told the publication that the EHR project cost more than expected and it took longer for physicians to adjust to the new system than expected, which decreased productivity.

Mr. Brumstead also attributed the operating loss to an unexpected closure of its operating rooms at the network's flagship hospital UVM Medical Center in Burlington.

Last October, the medical center temporarily closed its operating rooms after a strange smell left staff members sick. The medical center reopened those rooms in January, but that wasn't until after it had been forced to reschedule hundreds of surgeries, according to the report. 

"I think it's important to know that we want to be very transparent with our employees, our patients and communities to know that we are experiencing financial challenges, Mr. Brumstead told VTDigger. "[But] we have really, really good experienced people focused on the right initiatives and strategies, and that we’re going to get back on track."

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