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Senators Propose VA Electronic Health Record Transparency Act

EHRM program

Senators Propose VA Electronic Health Record Transparency Act

Two senators have introduced new legislation to increase transparency surrounding the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Electronic Health Record Modernization program.

The VA Electronic Health Record Transparency Act, introduced by Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., requires VA officials to regularly report on the costs, schedule and performance of the EHR modernization effort until its completion.

A similar piece of legislation circulated in Congress in October following watchdog reports flagging the agency’s underreporting of program costs, Federal News Network reported.

In a July report, the inspector general at the VA detailed unreliable information technology cost estimates for the overall project, with agency officials failing to identify potentially over $6 billion in IT and physical infrastructure upgrade expenses.

Initial estimates priced the program at $10 billion, but the actual figure is now likely to be $16 billion or more.

The VA is already moving to address the problem, having enlisted the Institute for Defense Analysis to review and provide a full cost estimate of its EHRM program. VA Deputy Chief Information Officer Paul Brubaker previously said IDA will begin its review in October while a full cost estimate should be ready by October 2022.

Senators are optimistic that the appointment of a new VA chief information officer will result in a more successful EHRM program.

Kurt DelBene, a longtime Microsoft executive, recently received Senate confirmation to assume the role of VA CIO. As tech chief, he will provide oversight on the implementation of IT infrastructure upgrades to support the transition.

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Category: Federal Civilian

Tags: Department of Veterans Affairs EHRM program Electronic Health Record Modernization federal civilian Federal News Network Jerry Moran Jon Tester Kurt DelBene