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Lawmakers Introduce Bills to Shut Down VA EHR Modernization Program

Electronic health record

Lawmakers Introduce Bills to Shut Down VA EHR Modernization Program

Rep. Matt Rosendale introduced a bill on Jan. 27 to axe the modernization of the Department of Veterans Affairs electronic health record system after multiple system shutdowns and technical issues led to costs ballooning over $20 billion. The program was originally worth $16 billion when it was awarded to Cerner, now Oracle Cerner, in 2018 under a decade-long, sole-source contract.

Rosendale’s proposal, titled “To terminate the Electronic Health Record Modernization Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs,” is co-sponsored by Rep. Mike Bost, who previously remarked that he would strike the program down if “major progress” is not achieved by early 2023, FCW reported Monday.

Rosendale supported Bost’s pronouncement, suggesting that investments be directed to the agency’s still-functional and less expensive VistA system.

Bost chairs the House Veterans Affairs Committee while Rosendale heads its technology modernization subcommittee.

The former has filed a draft bill that would bar VA from rolling out the Oracle Cerner EHR system at new health centers without assurance from senior officials. Each location’s director, chief of staff and network director would be required to attest that the platform is properly configured, staffing and infrastructure are sufficient and wait times would not extend due to implementation.

VA Secretary Denis McDonough would also need to certify that the overall EHRM system can operate 99.9 percent of the time and that technical issues have been addressed.

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