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Hospital Denied Access to Electronic Medical Records Over Billing Dispute With Vendor

Posted Jul 18 2013 11:22am

Since 2008 the hospital has paid $3,083,607.64 and the system has never been fully functional and the hospital claims it was not HIPAA compliant in all areas.  Business Computer Applications is the vendor who sold the hospital the system and who is demanding payment.  The EHR system, Pearl electronic medical records is CCHIT certified  as well as ONC-ATCB. 

The hospital decided to change systems and install an EHR from GE, named Centricity and is the new system as of July 1.  imageThe vendor and the hospital have done business together for 24 years.    The vendor is demanding $285,097.03 in unpaid services from the hospital and has remotely disconnected the hospital from their servers.  The hospital claims the vendor refused to provide a drive with all the patient records as well.  Milwaukee Health Services, the hospital takes care of much of the under served patients and has not been able to access records since July 1st and has filed a lawsuit.  The hospital could use a little work on their website but maybe this is temporary due to the switch to GE Centricity.  If they are live on the new system, and without the past history, all would have a file as a “new” patient for the time being until this is resolved but no access to past history. 

When medical records were in the baby stages, we used to hear more stories like this and the question at that time was whether to host your own records or use web based services.  We all know how that has changed in the last number of years with “cloud” services pretty much being predominant today.  It’s been a while since I have seen a “hostage” medical record story come out, but there were more again in the early days.  BD


MILWAUKEE (CN) - A computer firm is "jeopardizing the health and safety of about 40,000 people" - many of them uninsured or underinsured - by freezing a hospital out of access to its own medical records because of a billing dispute, the hospital claims in court.
Milwaukee Health Services sued Atlanta-based Business Computer Applications, in Federal Court.image
Milwaukee Health Services Inc. "specializes in the care of underserved populations," the hospital says in its complaint. It says it "serves everyone regardless of income or third party coverage."
The hospital claims the defendant performed an unauthorized remote disconnection from the hospital's local servers that house its patient data. It says the IT company refuses to restore computer service unless the hospital pays it $285,000.

The hospital has paid Business Computer Applications since 1999 to handle service, maintenance and hardware, and to develop a Clinic Management System for the hospital, according to the complaint. The system would take care of appointment scheduling, patient billing, and accounts receivable.
In 2008, the hospital began paying BCA to develop and install an electronic medical record system, known as the Pearl EMR, which was to be integrated with the Clinic Management System.

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