Failed AcerMed Leaves Some Customers Scrambling

Ambulatory EMR vendor AcerMed (Irvine, Calif.) has gone out of business, leaving its customers — mostly independent, small to medium-sized medical practices — scrambling to find a new records provider and, of more immediate significance, maintain their revenue stream.

AcerMed informed its customers in a Sept. 5 letter, a copy of which was posted Tuesday on the GPL Medicine blog, of open-source software advocate Fred Trotter. The unsigned letter says: “Meanwhile, if you need product support you may contact some of our former employees who are willing to work with you independent of AcerMed support purposes, on a best effort basis.”

The letter also directed customers of AcerMed’s claims-submission service to Emdeon, which handled billing and claims for some of the affected practices through an AcerMed user interface. “We have a solution called Emdeon Office that we are making available to their customers, with the implementation fee waived,” says Tommy Lewis, a Nashville, Tenn.-based marketing vice president for Emdeon Business Services.

Lewis says Emdeon’s sales team has received a full list of AcerMed EDI customers, which number less than 100. AcerMed reportedly has an overall customer base in the hundreds.

AcerMed had been embroiled in a legal dispute with MedInformatix, a Los Angeles-based health-IT vendor for whom AcerMed once was a value-added reseller. MedInformatix had alleged that AcerMed stole its software code. AcerMed was fined but not found in violation of any copyrights. The ruling is under appeal.

Executives of privately held AcerMed were not immediately available for comment, but in a podcast posted Monday at the EMR Update online forum, AcerMed president Richard Yonis said the lawsuit drained the company of its resources and prevented the company from securing additional funding.

“It’s a shame that this wonderful technology will never make it to the market because I feel that our justice system has failed us,” Yonis said in the audio interview.

One former customer, Thomas F. Dierkes, a pediatrician in Ocean View, N.J., switched from AcerMed to MedInformatix in May. “It just didn’t work,” Dierkes tells Digital HealthCare & Productivity. He says that the MedInformatix EMR and practice-management system he switched to had a “similar” look and feel to AcerMed’s, but he says the MedInformatix software is working better for his four-physician practice.

AcerMed actually had earned 2006 Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) certification for its AcerMed EMR product. It is believed to be the first company with a CCHIT-certified product to go under.

AcerMed’s telephone number and Web site were still functioning as of Tuesday morning, but the automated answering system revealed that extensions of several key personnel were no longer in service.

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