Hospital sues NextGen over EMR implementation

A small Montana hospital recently filed suit against NextGen Healthcare Information Systems in federal court alleging the company failed to deliver an electronic health records system as promised, the Helena Independent Record reported.

In its suit, filed Dec. 18 in U.S. District Court in Helena, Mountainview Medical Center alleged that NextGen agreed but failed to install a certified EHR system by June 1, 2013. The hospital extended the deadline to Oct. 1, but according to the newspaper, learned via court papers in September that Austin, Texas-based NextGen's system did not comply with federal Meaningful Use standards.

The hospital said it spent more than $441,000 on the system, which it still does not have. Hospital lawyers declined to comment further on the filing, according to the Independent Record.

The total project cost was estimated at more than $800,000 for the six-bed critical-access hospital in White Sulphur Springs, Mont., according to EHR Intelligence. Board members were concerned the hospital would be forced to close if it lost 10 percent of its Medicare money by failing to implement an EHR.

The hospital said its contract called for NextGen to provide servers, software and hardware, including laptops and tablets.

Last year KLAS Research reported significant dissatisfaction among many small hospitals that had adopted EHR systems, primarily those designed for larger hospital systems with integrated delivery systems. One in three felt they had made the wrong decision and wanted a new system, KLAS reported, helping vendors including NextGen make inroads in the small-hospital market.

Smaller and critical-access hospitals, in particular, are struggling to implement EHRs and meet Meaningful Use standards, according to a study published in the August issue of Health Affairs, including difficulties finding an appropriate EHR vendor.

"Our findings suggest that as Stage 2 criteria are implemented, policymakers should pay particular attention to smaller and critical-access hospitals to ensure that they are able to meet the meaningful-use standards," the researchers said.

For more information:
- read the Independent Record article
- here's the EHR Intelligence report
- check out the filing (subscription required for details)