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NYCHCC Epic Implementation Will Not Hit 2018 Deadline

Despite a promising start to its Epic implementation, NYCHHC $764-million EHR rollout has met with delays.

NYCHHC Epic implementation

Source: Thinkstock

By Kyle Murphy, PhD

- The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation will not complete its system-wide EHR implementation by the end of 2018 as planned, according to the New York Post.

Spokesman Robert de Luna indicated that the delay would push the project back by a “few months.”

Official documents for the implementation of an Epic EHR across 70 facilities set the end of 2018 as the deadline for completing the project, Michael Gartland reported. De Luna also told the news outlet that the Epic implementation is still “on budget.” However, an unnamed source refuted the claim to the New York Post.

“You can’t add time and not add budget,” the source said. “Every month the ‘go live’ date gets pushed back is costing them millions of dollars.”

Of the 70 facilities in its network, NYCHHC counts 11 hospitals. Last April, the health system completed the first phase of its Epic implementation as planned.

"We are pleased to announce that the first phase of the largest public health care system implementation of the new Epic electronic medical record system went live as planned," an NYCHHC spokesperson told EHRIntelligence.com at the time. "The transition to Epic at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst and NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens took place this morning, with more than 700 inpatients in the house, and at this time the new system is functioning well." 

"This was an immense undertaking involving more than 8,000 users, 17 different Epic systems modules and 36 ancillary systems, including labs, blood bank, radiology and more," the spokesperson continued. "We will continue to monitor the situation very closely. We thank all the staff who participated in this crucial part of the public health system’s transformation, and we look forward to the benefits the new electronic medical record system will provide to our patients."

The Queens and Elmhurst hospitals remain the only two within the health system to be up and running on the Epic EHR currently. De Luna told the paper that a score of neighborhood health centers affiliated with those two hospitals as well as NYCHHC’s home health service was also live on Epic.

Coney Island Hospital is expected to complete its go-live later this month, according to the New York Post report. That same report noted that the health system faces a $779-million budget deficit that could swell to $1.8 billion in three years.

Prior to the start of last year’s EHR rollout, speculation about the project’s prospects was far from positive. The New York Post ran a series of articles linking the sacking of four high-ranking NYCHHC officials to the system-wide EHR implementation.

One in particular — the resignation of former CIO Bert Robles — appeared to be EHR-related. “Chief Information Officer Bert Robles was forced to resign from his $296,000-a-year job in February while investigators were looking into allegations, including claims that his domestic partner received taxpayer-funded training on the new electronic medical records — even though she doesn’t even work for HHC,” reported Yoav Gonen.

A representative of the health system refuted a claim that the departure of CTO Paul Contino in 2015 had anything to do with the Epic implementation. At the same time, that spokesperson maintained that the project was on schedule and budget — $764 million over 6 years to be completed by the end of 2018.

Unsurprisingly, the delay of the project deadline is now leading to speculation about whether the price tag for the EHR rollout is likely to remain unchanged.

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