The New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. has lost its second health IT leader amid an investigation into a multiyear, multimillion dollar installation of an electronic health-record system.
In 2013, Epic Systems Corp. of Verona, Wis., won a 15-year, $302 million contract to replace HHC's decades-old EHR system. With 11 hospitals, HHC is the largest municipal health network in the nation. The total cost of the health information technology upgrade is estimated at $1.4 billion.
Former Chief Technology Officer Paul Contino was terminated three weeks ago, according to HCC spokesman Ian Michaels. In February, his boss, former Chief Information Officer Bert Robles, who had been managing the project, also was fired, Michaels said.
Meanwhile, the hospital system's inspector general has been investigating the project, Michaels confirmed. Two other administrators and seven consultants have also left the project, he said.
The New York Post, citing unnamed sources, said the installation is off target by 18 months, but Michaels said, “The six-year project to implement Epic at HHC remains on budget and on schedule.”
Michaels suggested some of the confusion about scheduling could have resulted from a revised implementation completion target, initially 2017, which was pushed back to December 2018 after the project added “the implementation of a laboratory system, which required additional planning and project design work.”
The New York hospitals have used EHRs since the 1980s. Two hospital groups within the system even won awards for excellence in the use of health IT.
Dr. Ramanathan Raju, president of HHC since January of 2014, inherited the Epic contract from his predecessor, former President Alan Aviles, also an IT award winner.
In 2007, Aviles received the National CEO IT Achievement Award from HIMSS and Modern Healthcare. The award is given for leadership in the use of health IT to advance healthcare excellence.
But Raju, who placed 19th on Modern Healthcare's 50 Most Influential Physician Executives & Leaders in 2015, was appointed to restructure, trim costs and increase revenues.
The system has yet to reach its targets.
For the first six months of its current fiscal year ending in December, it reported an operating loss of $56.3 million on $4.2 billion in revenue. During the same period the prior year, HHC lost $27.7 million loss against $4 billion in revenue.
The EHR overhaul is boosted by federal funding. In 2011, HHC announced all of its hospitals had achieved their meaningful-use targets under the federal EHR incentive payment program and the system would use the nearly $200 million in federal dollars to offset the costs of the new EHR.