Cerner falls short of contract agreement with VA, report says

Cerner has not kept its EHR system online consistently enough to fulfill its $10 billion contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs, The Spokesman-Review reported May 10. 

Cerner is required to meet a minimum level of "uptime," the time during which the system is fully available to users, but failed to do so, according to the report. The company will now provide the VA with a credit in exchange for falling short of the target, according to Terry Adirim, MD, program executive director of the VA. 

"Cerner Government Services understands and acknowledges the Department of Veterans Affairs' concerns with outages and degradation of the VA Electronic Health Record system to date," a Cerner spokesperson wrote to Becker's. "We address all concerns quickly and aggressively to improve end user and Veteran experience with the system. Cerner proactively initiated a technical review, governed at the highest levels of our company. We remain committed to the success of the VA EHRM program, and to providing Veterans, VA stakeholders and VA employees with an effective, reliable, and safe EHR."

The VA confirmed that its Cerner EHR system has been partly or completely unusable at least 52 times since its launch in 2020. 

In a statement, Cerner said any downtime is "unacceptable" and that it is working to take proactive steps to mitigate the problems, including assessing its internal processes, conducting a review of its federal contracts and analyzing the root causes of the outages that occurred over the past year.

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