Monday, June 17, 2024
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CRMC Finance Committee Delays Contract On Health Record System

Cookeville Regional’s Board Of Trustees Finance Committee voted Tuesday night to table a contract extension on the center’s health record system.

Committee members, led by Dr. Ernest Buchanan, voiced concerns about the system and ongoing problems that have not been fixed. Altera Digital Health had proposed a five-year contract extension at a price of some $6.16 million.

“They’ve got open issues they’re working on, and I would sure be opposed to anything that’s there, though, for an increase of 6 percent,” Buchanan said. “I’m not happy with it at all. I don’t want to sugarcoat that, but that’s the facts. They got us by the short hair.”

Buchanan and other staff met with executives of the company earlier this year about bugs and problems with the system, and were promised fixes. A crew will return to the medical center October 24 to work on the issues.

Medical Center CEO Buffy Key said looking to another provider would be a multi-year project.

“Even if you started a new build on a computer today, it would take that long to rebuild, I mean, to build up a new system,” Key said. “So at least three years. I’ve built lab systems and the computer systems, I mean, the hospital systems are the same way. Right out of the box, it’s not right out of the box. Maybe general things like notes, but not all your systems.”

The board voted to table the contract extension until its October meeting. Buchanan told the committee it could not imagine the time that has been spent by staff on trying to get the problems fixed.

“This has value to us, morale wise,” Buchanan said.

The contract extension calls for a payment to Alterra of $805,289 in year one and $5.360 million over the remaining years of the agreement. The company proposed a 10 percent price increase, but Chief Technology Officer Tim McDermott negotiated that down to six percent.

According it its website, Alterra “develops and elevates technology to connect and inspire healthier communities.” Cookeville Regional uses the Paragon, Allscripts Lab and other products to manage health care records.

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