Wake Forest struggles with red ink
September 4, 2014 in Medical Technology
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, in Winston-Salem, N.C., has posted losses for 2013-2014 fiscal year, ending June 30. It’s the second year in a row Wake Forest reported millions in losses, apparently unable to bounce back from the hit it took over difficulties with its $280 million rollout of its Epic electronic health record system.
While the hospital showed an uptick in the number of patients and increased productivity, it posted a net loss $44.2 million and an operating loss of $78.4 million — the second year in a row of declining income — and an increase of .8 percent in loss over the previous report.
Wake Forest did show signs of recovery. It posted revenues higher than the previous year by about 9 percent.
Adding to the financial struggles, business is down: Inpatient admissions dropped 6.3 percent last year.
The Winston-Salem Journal reported in May 2013 that Wake Forest had launched another round of “multi-million dollar” cost-cutting measures that would last through at least June 30, the end of its 2012-13 fiscal year, related to “fixing Epic revenue issues.”
[See also: Go-live gone wrong.]
Those measures included attempts at volunteer employee furloughs and hour-and-wage reductions, a hiring freeze, a reduction in employer retirement contributions, and elimination of executive incentive bonuses for 2013.
The Journal added that Wake Forest Baptist cited $8 million in “other Epic-related implementation expense” that it listed among “business-cycle disruptions (that) have had a greater-than-anticipated impact on volumes and productivity.” Also listed was $26.6 million in lost margin “due to interim volume disruptions during initial go-live and post go-live optimization.”
Wake Forest Baptist attributed some of its operating loss in its 2012-13 fiscal year to projected revenue that had been delayed related to problems rolling out Epic, particularly with billing, procedure coding and collections.