Defense Department boosts Cerner contract by $1.1B

The U.S.Defense Department is planning to increase its health records contract with Cerner by $1.1 billion, officials said July 24, according to Nextgov.

The deal, facilitated by Leidos, is valued at $4.3 billion, with a total contract lifecycle price of $9 billion.

As part of the increased project budget, the Pentagon will include the Coast Guard in the project, Stacy Cummings, program executive officer for Defense Healthcare Management Systems, told Nextgov.

In May, the Veterans Affairs Department awarded Cerner a 10-year, $10 billion deal to overhaul its legacy records system and put it on the same platform as the Defense Department, but its contract included features that weren't in the Defense Department's deal. The revised agreement would resolve those differences, according to Ms. Cummings.

"A standard electronic health record baseline for the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Coast Guard will enable more efficient, highly reliable, safe and quality care," she told the publication.

The announcement comes nearly two months after the Defense Department's Operational Test and Evaluation office found the agency's first three implementations of the EHR failed to "demonstrate enough workable functionality to manage and document patient care" and had "poor system usability, insufficient training and inadequate help desk support."

The report called the EHR, dubbed MHS Genesis, "neither operationally effective nor operationally suitable," and caused the agency to cancel plans to test at a fourth site.

That report came after the Pentagon paused its rollout in January because officials received more than 14,000 help tickets and early tests found the EHR could only perform about 56 percent of the 197 tasks used to measure the system's performance. However, as of July 13, the EHR is running at the four pilot sites.

VA said its transition will follow a wave model — similar to the Defense Department's plan — with the first go-lives slated for July at Washington state facilities in Spokane, Seattle and American Lake. Implementation is set for October, and the agency plans to be fully functional at the three test sites by March 2020.

The next four locations making up the second wave of the Defense's MHS Genesis deployment are Naval Air Station Lemoore, Travis Air Force Base, U.S. Army Health Clinic Presidio of Monterey in California and Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho, according to Ms. Cummings.

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