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Software glitch causes problem with MMH financials

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MASSENA - A software glitch may 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 some glitches with the LSS software that’s owned and operated by MEDITECH, a Massachusetts-based 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 Chair Gary Borgosz said their group had attempted to meet on May 15, but were unable to do so because some key individuals were not able to make the meeting. At the same time, they had questions about the accuracy of the financial report that had been presented to them, he said.

“There was a concern about a glitch potentially in the system, which may have created some kind of strange numbers off the report. 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,” he said.

Because of those concerns, Mr. Borgosz said they decided not to approve a report and present it publicly at Monday’s meeting because of concerns about the figures.

Mr. Fahd said they’ve been experiencing issues with the system for the past couple of months.

“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 said his concern was 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. 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. 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 that we provide you with,” Mr. Fahd said.

He said they’ve contacted MEDITECH to come in and look at the system and to make any necessary changes, improvements or corrections that will 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. I’m confident that what they are working on.... is something sound and we’ll be able to work off that,” he said.

Asked if the problem might have impacted financial figures that had been reviewed and approved by the board recently, Mr. Fahd said that may be the case.

“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 and the income from those never appears to be what we believe it should be. The answer to your question is it’s possible. We will go back as far as need to go back,” he said.

MMH officials told members of the hospital’s board of managers in March that the total loss for February was $425,865, following a January in which the hospital turned a profit of $37,684.

“I do apologize for this,” Mr. Fahd told board members Monday night. “I’m the captain of the ship, so I take responsibility and I apologize.”

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