Dr. Ramanathan Raju speaks out on NYC Health + Hospitals' Epic transition

A series of articles in the New York Post suggested New York City Health + Hospitals was in a state of havoc over its transition to an Epic EHR system, but system President and CEO Ramanathan Raju, MD, struck down those allegations and assures the health system's transition is going fine, reports Capital New York.

An anonymous source in the New York Post articles claimed Dr. Raju was under pressure from City Hall to stick to an April 1 EHR go-live, and that missing the deadline would compromise his job. In a City Hall meeting Friday with Mayor Bill de Blasio's staff, Dr. Raju said the April 1 date was self-imposed, and there is no threat of being fired.

"It could be April 7. If I'm not ready, it's not something we are chasing," Mr. Raju said, according to the report. "This deadline is craziness. If we miss the deadline, no one is going to chop my head off… Nobody is going to fire me. That's not a problem."

Dr. Raju also discussed the resignation of former CIO Bert Robles. Mr. Robles was asked to resign in February 2015. During the City Hall meeting, Dr. Raju said Mr. Robles' resignation was due to his lack of experience with the project. "I didn't want someone learning on the job," Dr. Raju said, according to the report. "This is too big to do that."

In previous comments to Becker's Hospital Review, NYC Health + Hospitals said the reason for the CIO's termination was personal conduct. "Bert Robles and several other members of the Epic implementation team have been terminated for reasons related to personal behavior and conduct that did not affect the Epic implementation project," the system stated in August 2015.

NYC Health + Hospitals is investing $764 million to implement Epic's EHR.   

Editor's note: This article was updated March 24, 2016 after omitting the word "not" from NYC Health + Hospitals' previous comments. We regret the error.

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