A software glitch may be the culprit behind some of Massena Memorial Hospital’s recent reports of financial losses, according to CEO Charles F. Fahd II.
He told his board of managers Monday that they’ve been experiencing glitches with the LSS software that’s owned and operated by Meditech, a Massachusetts vendor of health care information systems. Because of those glitches, an April financial report was not available Monday for the board’s review and approval.
Finance Committee Chairman Gary Borgosz said his group wished to meet May 15, but did not because certain key individuals could not make it. The committee questions the financial report’s accuracy.
“There was a concern about a glitch potentially in the system which may have created some kind of strange numbers off the report,” Mr. Borgosz said. “We decided to hold off on reviewing the report until we gave Jim (Smith, chief financial officer) and his organization the opportunity to further understand just what took place.” Given these concerns, Mr. Borgosz said they decided not to approve the report but rather present it publicly at Monday’s meeting.
Mr. Fahd said the hospital has encountered problems with the system recently. “We’ve been experiencing over the last couple of months some significant issues with our LSS software system that was recently installed in a number of our physician offices,” he said.
Mr. Fahd is concerned that the correct financial data was not being transferred from physician offices to the hospital’s accounting department.
“We have an excellent handle on the number of patients that are being seen across the street and in a number of our clinics,” Mr. Fahd said. “The problem is getting the financial piece of that across the street. The problem literally is getting it from there to here. We seem to be dropping charges. We are not capturing the amount of revenue we should be capturing from the office business or particular businesses or practices,” he said.
“As a result of that, as Gary suggested, our financial reports are not out; they’re not correct,” Mr. Fahd said. “There’s no reason to provide you with incorrect financial data for the month. When we get that data, we will provide it, first to the Finance Committee as appropriate. Once they review it and approve it we will send it out to the board and everyone else who normally gets a copy of the financial report.”
Mr. Fahd said the hospital contacted Meditech to come in and look at the system and make necessary changes to address the problem.
“Our director of patient accounts and director of accounting did work all weekend to try to come up with a solution to find out what exactly is going on,” he said. “I’m confident that what they are working on is something sound, and we’ll be able to work off that.”
Mr. Fahd said the computer problem might have affected financial figures that had been reviewed and approved by the board. “There’s a possibility it could go back into February,” he said. “We have seen a decrease in revenues that we did not anticipate. Every month when you look at the number of visits, especially outpatient visits, that we believe are at or above budget, the income from those never appears to be what we believe it should be. We will go back as far as we need to go back,” he said.
“I do apologize for this,” the CEO said. “I’m the captain of the ship, so I take responsibility and I apologize.”