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Digital Modernization

Democrats to Introduce Legislation Seeking to Resolve VA EHR Modernization Issues

Proposed legislation

Democrats to Introduce Legislation Seeking to Resolve VA EHR Modernization Issues

House lawmakers are working on plans to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs electronic health record modernization program.

Democrats from the House Veterans Affairs Committee are expected to introduce a new bill that would focus on the Oracle Cerner EHR system, which has been causing problems for the VA in recent years. According to two senior congressional sources, the bill aims to provide a solution for long-running IT issues with the EHR system and provide a more holistic approach without having to revert to the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture.

The anticipated bill is designed as an alternative approach to Republican bills introduced on the week of Jan. 23 that address the EHR system, FedScoop reported Thursday.

A person familiar with the matter noted that the proposal would also focus on other programs apart from the Cerner EHR system. According to the source, other focus areas could involve a rethink of how other IT projects within the agency are conducted.

The VA has encountered a plethora of issues since it rolled out the Cerner EHR system in five locations in 2020. Among the issue reported are system outages, data reporting shortcomings, cost overages and difficulties in using the system.

The VA said in February 2022 that it is working on the system after the Government Accountability Office criticized the way the department managed data collection.

More recently, the system was hit with network issues that affected the Department of Defense, VA and U.S. Coast Guard hospitals where it is deployed.