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Digital Modernization

VA Official Rejects New EHR Certification Requirements Under Senate Bills

Electronic health record

VA Official Rejects New EHR Certification Requirements Under Senate Bills

A Department of Veterans Affairs official has opposed Senate bills seeking to make the VA’s electronic health record system comply with new certification requirements prior to its deployment to new sites.

The Oracle Cerner EHR system is already operational at five locations, including Spokane VA Health Care System, VA Walla Walla Health Care and Roseburg VA Health Care System; however, its deployment to other sites was postponed due to performance issues that impact patient safety.

At a Senate hearing, Miguel LaPuz, the VA’s assistant undersecretary for health for integrated veteran care, explained that the certification requirements could result in unintended outcomes, Nextgov reported.

In his written testimony, LaPuz noted that the EHR Program RESET Act, introduced by Sen. Jon Tester, includes provisions that reduce managerial flexibility and create a significant operational burden.

LaPuz also commented on the legislation Sen. Jerry Moran introduced to limit the EHR system’s deployments until it demonstrates improvements, saying that the proposal does not consider the current EHRM program reset and infrastructure activities.

The VA previously modified its contract with Oracle Cerner to increase its accountability by including penalties the company should pay if it fails to meet key performance metrics.

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