Execs fired as cost of Epic EHR rollout grows at NYC Health and Hospitals

Over the past six months, four executives of New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. have been fired while investigators probe the health system's implementation of a new EHR.

Hospital officials confirmed to the New York Post that Bert Robles, CIO, was forced to resign in February, and CTO Paul Contino left his position approximately three weeks ago. Additionally, two other administrators and seven consultants were fired, the New York Post reports, though they did not specify who the other administrators are.

NYC HHC is in the middle of an Epic EHR implementation. The hospital signed the original contract in January 2013, which is worth $302 million over 15 years. In comments to Becker's Hospital Review, NYC HHC said while this figure represents the contract, the implementation and maintenance cost over six years is $764 million.

NYC HHC planned for the EHR to be in full operation by 2017 at 11 HHC hospitals, four long-term care facilities, six diagnostic treatment centers and more than 70 community based clinics, but enterprisewide go-live is now scheduled for 2018. The hospital says the project is on schedule and on budget, and the go-live date was pushed back one year because they decided to also implement a laboratory system.

Hospitals officials did not comment on the details regarding the firings to the New York Post, citing ongoing investigations related to billing for the implementation by the Inspector General's Office. Sources said HHC Inspector General Norman Dion has been investigating allegations of improper billing and misconduct since August 2014. However, the hospital said the firings were not related to the Epic implementation.

"Paul Contino was terminated approximately three weeks ago for reasons unrelated to Epic. 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, which remains on schedule and on budget," the hospital told Becker's Hospital Review. "The personnel changes within the Epic team did not affect the performance of the Epic contract."

Editor's note: This article was updated on Friday, Aug. 21 at approximately 11 a.m. to include comments from NYC HHC.

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