Epic implementation costs lead to layoffs for Mass. provider

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The costs associated with implementing an Epic EMR has led to the lay off of 95 Southcoast Health employees.

The Massachusetts system operates three hospitals. The layoffs represent 1 percent of its 7,251-person workforce, according to an article in the Boston Business Journal.

The provider said the cuts were due to training costs associated with the $100 EMR installation. Those training costs for the system, which went live in October, contributed to a $9.9 million operating loss in the first quarter of fiscal 2016, which ended Dec. 31. Southcoast expects similar expenses to impact the quarter that ended on March 31. 

"These financial challenges are attributable to higher-than-budgeted operating expenses, largely a result of our Epic implementation," said Southcoast president and CEO Keith Hovan in a letter to employees, according to the Journal. "During the first two quarters of this fiscal year, revenue has grown positively at a rate of 4 percent--a significant accomplishment, particularly given the lack of a flu season. However, expenses have grown at 6 percent during that time, which is an untenable variance that must be corrected."